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American Pastoral by Philip Roth

American Pastoral (original 1997; edition 1998)

by Philip Roth

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5,688127750 (3.93)190
Title:American Pastoral
Authors:Philip Roth
Info:Vintage (1998), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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American Pastoral by Philip Roth (1997)


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» See also 190 mentions

English (113)  Spanish (5)  Italian (4)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  All (127)
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
This one was hard for me. For some reason I really struggled to make it through this book, but once I made my way through I found it to be fantastically heartbreaking.

I am a huge fan of Philip Roth and although I don't always tend to agree with the critics, this is certainly one of his greatest novels. The heartbreak at the center of the American Dream is beautifully rendered here. And Roth's Swede expertly shows us that no amount of refashioning or perfecting one's self can ensure a happy ending. ( )
  SnowcatCradle | Jan 2, 2017 |
Sorry if this is short. I'm no Roth.
Blah, blah, blah. Mr Perfect has problems, too. ( )
  sbluerock | Nov 5, 2016 |
  TheIdleWoman | Jun 17, 2016 |
Tedious is a good description, uninspired rambling is another. Didn't work in the 1st 10%, 2nd 10% was not any better. And the last chapter ? What is the connection here? ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
At the beginning of the novel, Nathan Zuckerman, a famous author, is reminiscing about his high school days in a mostly Jewish New Jersey suburb as his forth-fifth class reunion approaches. As a student, he was awed by Seymour “the Swede” Levov, his classmate’s older brother and the best athlete in the school. At the reunion, he finds out that the Swede’s daughter was accused of committing a serious crime in protest of the Vietnam War and that the Swede never fully recovered from that shock. The Swede becomes the narrator at this point, although it’s nearly impossible to tell whether he’s really telling his side of the story or whether Zuckerman is just imagining what might have happened. Either way, the novel becomes an exploration of whether it’s really possible for anyone to achieve the American dream.

I thought this book started out promising but ended up frustrating and boring. I found a quite a few good quotes at the beginning of the novel that made me think I knew what it was about, and then Roth switched gears on me. The narrator switch about a quarter of the way through was frustrating because I never did figure out whether I was actually in the Swede’s head or whether Zuckerman was just taking the small part of the story that he knew and turning it into his own novel. I kept waiting for Roth to switch back to the original narrator at the end, but he never did. Also, the Swede’s constant rambling about his feelings and insecurities got really repetitive and boring after a while. Roth could have shortened the book considerably. This is the third book I’ve read by Roth, and I’m beginning to think that he’s just not my cup of tea.

Some quotes:

“It was one of those things that get torn out of you and thrust into oblivion just because they didn’t matter enough. And yet what I had missed completely took root in Ira and changed his life. So you don’t have to look much further than Ira and me to see why we go through life with a generalized sense that everybody is wrong except us. And since we don’t just forget things because they don’t matter but also forget things because they matter too much—because each of us remembers and forgets in a pattern whose labyrinthine windings are an identification mark no less distinctive than a fingerprint—it’s no wonder that the shards of reality one person will cherish as a biography can seem to someone else who, say, happened to have eaten some ten thousand dinners at the very same kitchen table, to be a willful excursion into mythomania. But then nobody really bothers to send in their fifty bucks for a forty-fifth high school reunion so as to turn up and stage a protest against the other guy’s sense of the-way-it-was; the truly important thing, the supreme delight of the afternoon, is simply finding that you haven’t yet made it onto the “In Memoriam” page.”

“Such a sensational thing, in his life certainly—even twenty-seven years later, how could anybody not know or have forgotten?”

“…the story he had to tell me was this one, the revelation of the interior life that was unknown and unknowable…” ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Rothprimary authorall editionscalculated
Drazdauskienė, Rasasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drazdauskienė, Rasasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pellar, RudolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pellarová, LubaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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The swede.
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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)

(summary from another edition)

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