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American Pastoral by Philip Roth

American Pastoral (original 1997; edition 1998)

by Philip Roth

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5,349112819 (3.94)167
Title:American Pastoral
Authors:Philip Roth
Info:Vintage (1998), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:1001 books

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American Pastoral by Philip Roth (1997)


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English (103)  Italian (3)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (112)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
A well-written but ultimately downbeat glimpse into the rapidly tarnishing American dream of the post-WWII generation. I found the book both compulsively readable with well-developed characters and irritatingly repetitive in spots. Overall, I'm glad I read this book, and I plan to read more from Roth, but the subject matter here is often a downer. ( )
  ScoLgo | Nov 3, 2015 |
I didn't get it. I'm American, but I'm not Jewish or a Jew. I was born in the late 50s, so there's that, too. But because book minds much finer than mine have given this one the Pulitzer, I'm going to simply claim ignorance. I just did not get what the big deal was.

We have this guy who is like the Great White Hope (except he's Jewish, in spite of his Scandinavian looks) and all the Jews in the neighborhood think this guy is going to represent to the Other that they are just as...as the Other; he's some sort of salvation or something.

To me, the guy seemed like a dolt. He was smart enough, but he was a big jock, the pride and hope of the neighborhood to bring home some stupid sports trophy to prove that the Jews can do it, can win it, can beat the Other, can be not only as good as, but better in SPORTS.

So life goes on for our big jock and then he marries and has a family and that's when things go South. Oops! Life is crashing his picture-perfect party. Welcome to the world.

This was my first Philip Roth and probably my last. I think I'll go read Saul Bellow. I hope he's better. Deeper, at least. How disappointing that people still aspire to that same sorry American motif: being a sports star.

Well. Whatever. I didn't get it. I made it to page 128 and said "life is too short for this." ( )
  WordMaven | Jun 13, 2015 |
There is no American Pastoral. There is only American berserk, according to Roth. Bad things happen, very bad things -- explosions, rapes, cheating spouses, nasty children, prostate cancer, forks aimed at the eye. This is true even for the handsome, seemingly perfect, excessively talented high school athletic star and his beauty-pageant wife.

My reading of this book is that it is a very personal statement about what life brings. There is the perfection we can often see in youth, but that perfection is an illusion. Don't try to embrace it and hold it. Because there is another wholly unexpected event coming along that will disrupt it and, very likely, blow it to the sky. I suppose this is a very cynical view of life, but as spoken in the voice of an aging novelist and focused on the life of a high-school hero whose best attempts often end in failure or total loss, it feels -- as I noted -- like a very personal, lonely lament of a life shaped by harsh realities and disappointments. More of a "coming-to-terms with what I've seen" than "this is a lousy life and don't expect to be happy." Others may see this point differently.

This book is beautifully written but also terribly overwritten. I felt bludgeoned by paragraph after paragraph that said the same thing -- again, in gorgeous prose. That said, this is a book that is worth the time. Philip Roth is an American treasure, even when the message he conveys is melancholy. ( )
1 vote rongeigle | Dec 29, 2014 |
Non mi sembra un libro di difficile lettura - e onestamente non lo è - non più di tanti altri. Roth scrive bene, con vigore, è un professionista della parola. Non è un cheeseburger, questo no. Lasciamo ai Follett e ai suoi seguaci quest'onere.

Roth è un artigiano della vita scritta. Certe cose non si dovrebbero scrivere, non dovrebbero trovare spazio sulla carta stampata.

Certi discorsi tra padre e figli, tra fratelli, non dovrebbero essere cosi *evidenti*. Certi meccanismi di rivalsa, di realtà quotidiana, non dovrebbero essere così *palesi*.

Questi dovrebbero essere libri *proibiti*, perchè rivelano, come nelle tele tagliate di Fontana, quello che c'è sotto la superficie - e non vorremmo fosse vero. Certi libri si dovevano scrivere secoli fa, ed essere ambientati a San Pietroburgo. Questo è apparso ai giorni nostri, e tra cent'anni farà lo stesso effetto che i 'Karamazov' hanno fatto a noi.

E se questi sono i libri difficili da leggere, impareremo a farlo. Abbiamo solo da guadagnarci. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
This was among the most tedious books I have read in a long time! Years ad years ago I had read other Philip Roth books and have yet to find one that I can say I enjoyed. Through out this book he repeats the same three or four overall thoughts again and again. Different words but the same thoughts. I know more about glove making than I will ever need to know. The disfunction family portrayed in the book are not representative of most American families now or during the time of the plot. All in all reading this was time I can never get back in my life. Read at your own risk of boredom. ( )
  JanicsEblen | Dec 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Rothprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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
To J. G.
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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)

» see all 6 descriptions

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