Philip Roth, Exit Ghost (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), p. 58:
All in all, being without any need to play a role was preferable to the friction and agitation and conflict and pointlessness and disgust that, as a person ages, can render less than desirable the manifold relations that make for a rich, full life. I stayed away because over the years I conquered a way of life that I (and not just I) would have thought impossible, and there's pride taken in that. I may have left New York because I was fearful, but by paring and paring and paring away, I found in my solitude a species of freedom that was to my liking much of the time. I shed the tyranny of my intensity -- or, perhaps, by living apart for over a decade, merely reveled in its sternest mode.
Embarked as they are upon a life of exploration rather than representation, novelists, like philosophers, may find irksome, confining, and perhaps even impossible the playing of roles. Role-instantiation engenders a richness of relations, and with that comes fullness of life, but these relations are willingly renounced for a solitude austere, cold, but free.