I couldn't fit the whole quote into the title, but in one of the recent NYT pieces on Roth someone came out with the line:

"The death of Philip Roth marks, in its way, the end of a cultural era as definitively as the death of Pablo Picasso did in 1973."

Now I don't know much about Picasso or painting, but I imagine it's safe to say that the loss of Picasso was a pretty big deal. Are we in a similar moment? The response to Roth's passing has been pretty muted and it feels as though writing peaked more or less in the 20th century and had begun to wind down well before Roth's death, Pynchon, DeLillo, McCarthy, Morrison and a few others are still knocking about but how many younger writers are there? Are novels even valued these days? Are the people who would previously have become novelists now going into screenwriting instead?

I seem to recall a McCarthy quote from somewhere about how it's pointless to continue writing big, important novels because there's just no audience for them anymore and I think he's probably right.