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Letting Go

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  1,006 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Letting Go is Roth's first full-length novel, published just after Goodbye, Columbus, when he was twenty-nine. Set in 1950s Chicago, New York, and Iowa city, Letting Go presents as brilliant a fictional portrait as we have of a mid-century America defined by social and ethical constraints and by moral compulsions conspicuously different from those of today.

Newly discharged
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Paperback, 630 pages
Published September 2nd 1997 by Vintage (first published 1961)
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Sandra
Mar 20, 2016 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
“ Lascia che l’esperienza fluisca, lasciala andare. Aspetta e accetta e impara a tirar via la mano. Non aggrapparti! Che cos’è il matrimonio, se non una merdosa forma di rapacità, una terribile, ripugnante manifestazione di superbia.”


Si capisce che il Roth che verrà sarà il grandissimo Roth che conosciamo, si capisce che lo scrittore deve ancora prendere le misure con la scrittura; il romanzo è prolisso, per la prima volta leggendo Roth ho sentito il desiderio di saltare delle pagine, ho provato
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Judy
Aug 26, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it
This was the fifth of books published in 1962 I read in August. I had set out to read 10 but a couple were as long as two or three books put together including this one. I enjoyed every page and found it easy to read. Letting Go was Roth's first novel, preceded by Goodbye Columbus (a novella and story collection.)

I know there is a contingent of readers who balk at reading novels by "old white men" and I sort of get it. But the fact is these old white men are still read because they could write
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Georg
Dec 24, 2008 Georg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english, favourite
So far as I can see I am the only one who thinks that this is the best book by Roth. I read it at least four times and I will read it ar least four times more.
Lobstergirl
Sep 02, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lou Dobbs
Shelves: own, fiction

I can't forgive Roth for what he did to (view spoiler)
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clarissa
Mar 10, 2016 clarissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tutta la grandiosa capacità di Roth nel delineare profili umani ci porta in questo libro ad adorare ogni personaggio, a conoscerne ogni sfumatura, a seguirne ogni cambiamento. E ogni personaggio fa parte di un puzzle di anime che si chiarisce solo nelle ultime pagine, un cerchio di sentimenti e rancori che fa da emblema alla vita che è dramma, ristrettezza, costrizione, mancanza, dolore. Tutti i temi più cari a Roth traslati nella sfera del sentimento, niente a che fare con la rabbia della trilo ...more
Ubik 2.0
Lasciarsi andare o no?

L’impatto iniziale con questo secondo romanzo di Philip Roth è una sorpresa positiva: ci sono già i personaggi, gli ambienti, i temi cari all’autore trattati con la consueta padronanza e soprattutto ci sono i ricchi dialoghi che rappresentano da sempre un punto di forza nello stile dell’autore.

Viene da pensare che “Lasciarsi andare” sia stato ingiustamente bistrattato come una delle opere mal riuscite di Roth ed invece avvince e diverte ben di più del fortunato e premiato e
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Mariano Hortal
Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/deudas-y-do...

“Deudas y Dolores” de Philip Roth. El final de un camino es el comienzo de otro.

“Deudas y Dolores” sí que puede ser considerada la primera novela de Philip Roth; al fin y al cabo, “Goodbye Columbus” era una antología de historias cortas, y nos encontramos ya con varios de los temas que continuarán durante toda su obra; lo curioso es que, para ser una novela que escribió en 1962, demuestra ser una obra madura y un buen exponente del gran Roth,
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Diabolika
Le mie impressioni su questo libro sono condizionate dal fatto che, dopo aver letto la Trilogia sull’America, sono diventata una fan sfegatata di PR e questo rischia di mantenere troppo alte le mie aspettative: spero che tutti i suoi libri siano altrettanto strepitosi. Purtroppo, non è questo il caso.

Se dovessi descrivere il libro con una sola parola sarebbe irritante. Il libro si occupa, principalmente, di scelte (o forse dovrei dire di non scelte) e di relazioni. La trama ruota intorno ad una
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Justin
Feb 26, 2014 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a book with a gripping plot, this probably isn't the one for you. This isn't built around dramatic events but rather around the complexities of life, its ups and downs, love and loss, and the long process of self-discovery.

That's not to say that things don't happen in Letting Go, because they most certainly do. Death, divorce, abortion, and adoption are just some of the heavy-duty topics in Philip Roth's debut novel. But there is not a single one of those that dictates the
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Brian
Feb 09, 2011 Brian rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Margaret
Sep 08, 2010 Margaret rated it really liked it
Apparently I'll enjoy reading anything by Philip Roth, because I liked this and I can't even make the plot sound interesting to myself. It's about a group of graduate students and their awkward and painful relationships. It had the added benefit of making me feel good about myself.
Eric Uribares
No es ni de cerca de las mejores novelas de Roth, pero ya prefigura la facilidad para la construcción minuciosa de la psicología de los personajes.
Stefani
Apr 13, 2011 Stefani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is too long. It's less dense than say Tolstoy, but still mindlessly repetitive in sections, particularly when we are privy to the lengthy and intense inner dialogue of characters followed by lengthy and intense spoken dialogue followed by door-slamming and other dramatic effect.

Having said that, I think Roth is immensely skilled at revealing the restlessness of a generation that has started to question the relevance of institutions like religion, marriage, etc...Both Libby and Paul are ost
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Daniel
Dec 17, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it
I'm still in the early stages of working my way through Roth's oeuvre, but this one was unique to me for the following reasons:

- (a) it's about youth, but youth through a lens that is only partly tragic [unlike the entirely tragic Indignation or Nemesis] and not entirely sex-obsessed [as distinct from the Professor of Desire, which I haven't finished];

- (b) it's largely set in the Midwest, including Detroit but also especially Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood; there's not a word about Newark a
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David
Dec 14, 2010 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
There's a reason this book isn't one of Roth's more well-known...it is in severe need of trimming, but the characters themselves are compelling (and, sadly, familiar) enough to keep me interested most of the time. While I think something has been lost in the generational transition (what the author clearly wants the reader to see as transgressive may have been so for his day, but today just elicits a shrug and a "what's the big deal"), the human pain is all too real. I will probably finish this ...more
Greg Olson
Aug 22, 2013 Greg Olson rated it liked it
Some of the scenes in this book were long - way too long. They continued long after it seemed the author had made his point. I suppose this was Roth's way of driving home the excruciating banality of many relationships and highlighting the uncertainly of post-war America. Still, Roth, who was not yet 30 when he wrote this, proved himself to be an unusually insightful writer with a keen eye for detail, nuance and character.
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 15, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok
Who would have thought that Philip Roth would be one of the known novelists when he wrote this novel when he was 29 years old in the 60's? I read this when I was in college freshman in 1981 without any idea on who Philip Roth was. I liked it! Excellent storytelling skills and the plot was something that we used to see in those American soaps being played in the Philippines in the 80's like Falcon Crest, Dynasty, etc.
Amanda
Feb 25, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: beach-reads
This is my favorite Roth, be it early and unpolished and full of flaws. Maybe because of all these. I fell into it and couldn't put it down, whereas I keep trying to slog through American Pastoral and get annoyed with the overly self-aware quality of the prose, where I feel more Roth than I do character. These couples are fascinating and flawed and very real.
Rafa
Jul 08, 2014 Rafa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gran novela de personajes. Sorprende que, siendo de los '50, pudiera ocurrir ahora en cualquier ciudad de España.
Reid
Belated: This was really good, and I’d read it again. 600 pages and nary a dull moment. Sense of place was great. Psychologies were perfect.
Michael Eppelheimer
May 04, 2013 Michael Eppelheimer rated it really liked it
Letting Go. Read May 4 – 18, 2013. Roth's first novel, published in 1962.

Yearning. Indecisiveness. Rootlessness. Responsibility. Listlessness. Guilt.

Recommendation
Fans of Roth or those interested in an unflinching glare onto the American experience of middle-class twenty-somethings in the late 50s, read it.

Summary
There are three quotes in the epigraph, and the last one is an appropriate summation of the story:

It may be that one life is a punishment 
For another, as the son's life for the father's
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Niamh
Jan 31, 2008 Niamh rated it liked it
I mostly enjoyed this because it was set in Chicago and it was fun to read the descriptions of different parts of town. The novel follows two couples, sort of, and the story of one couple was really compelling, but the story of the other couple was just painful to read.

Reading this made me think about misogyny a bit. The female characters all kind of suck, and they suck in very realistic and general ways. As I was reading, I occasionally found myself thinking, "Man, women really suck sometimes.
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David
Jan 08, 2008 David rated it it was amazing
it seems like i've been reading this forever. it's becuase it's really long i guess. and i left it at john's house so i've started other books in it's place.

this is roth's first novel. my favorite of his is the professor of desire and this is just as good. similar themes in which a man in academia in the 50's is struggling with love interests and the expectations of being a jewish man. i'm finding the supporting characters more intresting that than the main as the lives and interests of poeple c
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Melissa
È il primo libro di Roth che ho letto.
Lo definirei il romanzo della solitudine. Tutti i personaggi descritti sono soli e in qualche modo si ritrovano e decidono di rimanere insieme per paura. La paura è quella di non riuscire a trovare una persona da amare, che si faccia amare e che ti ami. Ovviamente. Solo che questo loro sforzo li rende ancora più soli, perché è estenuante cercare di far funzionare un rapporto sbagliato già dall'inizio.
Perciò la storia mi è piaciuta e i dialoghi sono fantastic
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Tim Anderson
Sep 14, 2012 Tim Anderson rated it liked it
Lots of plot lines and frustrating, argumentative dialogue. From what I gathered, "Letting Go" is about a guy just barely discernable as a "main character" who gets screwed over by everyone even though all he does is help them. The people in this book cling to each other, even when they have no reason to, even when they kind of hate one another. Most of what's great about "Letting Go" gets drowned out by the book's sheer size and how it just goes on and on, plots racking up, until it finally giv ...more
Richard
Aug 02, 2016 Richard rated it it was amazing
An involved and involving read that may be the one Roth novel everyone should attempt. This is one of his earlier works, but it is graced with a mature eye and wit. I read it several decades ago and have always felt it a most worthy novel. So I read it again, wondering if it would have the same impact now that I'm in my 50s. Well, it did. The terrain is not different from other Roth works, in particular the burden of family that demand so much that they drive us away from them. Some of my Jewish ...more
Daniel Cunha
Dec 30, 2010 Daniel Cunha rated it really liked it
An early Philip Roth, Letting Go has none of the great historical events, distinctive characters, buried personal secrets, portraits of the jewish diaspora in America or fantastic reality that drive his other better known books. This is a small story, an uneventful plot, with rather normal and recognizable characters, on the life of middle class man and woman in 50s America coming to grip with a new way of life where all does not shine like the Coca-Cola add. And small though it is, the book imp ...more
Trevor
Jan 14, 2010 Trevor rated it it was amazing
My first experience with Philip Roth, coming on the coattails (coincidentally) of a NY Times article about the treatment of sex between "The Great Male Novelists of the 20th Century" and contemporary male authors. On the scale of "sex-ness," Letting Go must be pretty far down on Roth's bibliography. It was in there, and treated openly and complexly, but not to the nearly obscene level that he has been accused of elsewhere.

Letting Go is a subtle book, to me, and one that it is easy for a throw-ba
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Corey
Apr 21, 2012 Corey rated it did not like it
Let me save you A LOT of time by summing this book up for you:

-100 pages of arduous back story, privileged white characters wallow in their own self pity
-100 pages of unbearable dialogue, where characters argue about said self-pity
-Repeat for 640 pages


I love Roth, and I really wanted to like this novel, but I couldn't. Roth gives us no reason to care about his whine-y characters, who complain for pages and pages and pages and pages. They do not lead very interesting lives, you certainly do not f
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Aaron
Aug 17, 2008 Aaron rated it liked it
“Letting Go,” reads a lot like a young writer trying to mimic Philip Roth, which, for the most part, is exactly what it was. To a large extent, this book suffered from the context in which it was read, coming as part of my project to read (or often reread) every Roth novel in order. In the larger context of his career, “Letting Go” does not rank as a career best but on its own terms, it is a very good book, unafraid to allow the author’s stand in to be a dislikable (but believable human) charact ...more
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Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained early literary fame with the 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus (winner of 1960's National Book Award), cemented it with his 1969 bestseller Portnoy's Complaint, and has continued to write critically-acclaimed works, many of which feature his fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. The Zuckerman novels began with The Ghost Writer in 1979, and inc ...more
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