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American Pastoral by Philip Roth
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American Pastoral (1997)

by Philip Roth

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The American Trilogy (1), Zuckerman Bound (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,287142947 (3.93)208
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» See also 208 mentions

English (126)  Spanish (5)  Italian (5)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (142)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
Something seems wrong with giving this a 3.5—but at some point, I just got tired. ( )
  KatrinkaV | Jan 11, 2019 |
My least favorite Roth novel. ( )
  AaronJacobs | Oct 23, 2018 |
America. una famiglia ebrea che affeonta la vita. un uomo amato e rispettato. "Lo Svedese" che viene messo a nudo in questo romanzo davvero ecclatante. la verità o finzione della ricostruzione della sua vita. di quella vita buia, e dolorosa che lo ha portato con se fino alla fine... ( )
  TheGirin | Sep 19, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Jun 2009):
- An..evisceration of 20th century American society. There. Or, is this only what I think Roth was trying to do?
- Seymour "Swede" Levov is the front and center of this story. The entire story is spent cracking, and then...blasting away the veneer of Levov's life, a life as heroic high school star, groom to a princess bride, and heir of a successful glove making business in Newark NJ. Swede and wife Dawn decide to settle in far off Morris County, much to the chagrin of father Lou (who also opposed his match with a Catholic). Dawn takes up cattle raising as a kind of hobby, the glove business grows and all is well.
- Enter a daughter, Merry, who, despite developing a stutter as a child, leads a fairly ideal, involved life. The 60s arrive, and after developing an oddly excoriating opinion of "The War" and Lyndon Johnson at barely 13, Merry becomes wildly estranged from her parents by age 16. She mixes with some "activists" in the Big Apple, and, despite Swede's empathy and ongoing after-dinner chats with her, Merry tragically acts on her persuasions. The aftermath of her crime and her disappearance haunt Swede and Dawn, who each handle the trauma in their own, somewhat delusional ways.
- He is covertly contacted by a contemptible vixen calling herself Rita Cohen, who claims to know Merry's whereabouts and brazenly toys with Swede, in essence blackmailing him. All the while Swede desperately wants to spare the fragile Dawn from false hope, as he naively holds out hope of Merry's innocence...
- If any passage in the book synthesizes Roth's tale, this is it:
"How to penetrate to the interior of people was some skill or capacity he did not possess. He just did not have the combination to that lock. Everybody who flashed the signs of goodness he took to be good...Everybody who flashed the signs of intelligence he took to be intelligent. And so he had failed to see into his daughter, failed to see into his wife...probably had never even begun to see into himself."
- Is the story overwrought, bloated? Not quite. Is it brilliant? Maybe in bits, but not in total. This was my first Roth. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Jul 15, 2018 |
This book is full of beautiful prose that manages to transcend both tradition and modernity. It also contains a very bizarre plot. I was slightly disappointed that the narrator we meet at the beginning disappears and never returns, but otherwise was engrossed in the unravelling of the seemingly perfect Levov family. The ending was a bit strange, and along with that disappearing narrator, made me feel that the plot had been twisted more than resolved. But all in all, this was definitely an interesting reading experience. ( )
  quaintlittlehead | Jul 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Rothprimary authorall editionscalculated
Drazdauskienė, Rasasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pellar, RudolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pellarová, LubaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dream when the day is thru, dream and they might come true, things never are as bad as they seem, so dream, dream, dream.
-Johnny Mercer from "Dream," popular song of the 1940s
the rare occurrence of the expected...
-William Carlos Williams, from "At Kenneth Bruke's Place," 1946
Dedication
To J. G.
First words
The swede.
Quotations
What he saw, in a scarecrow's clothes, stick-skinny as a scarecrow, was the scantiest farmyard emblem of life, a travestied mock-up of a human being, so meager a likeness to a Levov it could have fooled only a bird.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375701427, Paperback)

Philip Roth's 22nd book takes a life-long view of the American experience in this thoughtful investigation of the century's most divisive and explosive of decades, the '60s. Returning again to the voice of his literary alter ego Nathan Zuckerman, Roth is at the top of his form. His prose is carefully controlled yet always fresh and intellectually subtle as he reconstructs the halcyon days, circa World War II, of Seymour "the Swede" Levov, a high school sports hero and all-around Great Guy who wants nothing more than to live in tranquillity. But as the Swede grows older and America crazier, history sweeps his family inexorably into its grip: His own daughter, Merry, commits an unpardonable act of "protest" against the Vietnam war that ultimately severs the Swede from any hope of happiness, family, or spiritual coherence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An ordinary man finds that his life has been made extraordinary by the catastrophic intrusion of history when, in 1968 his adored daughter plants a bomb that kills a stranger, hurling her father out of the longed-for American pastoral and into the ingenious American berserk.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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