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American Pastoral
 
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Philip Roth
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American Pastoral (The American Trilogy #1)

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3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  41,101 Ratings  ·  2,923 Reviews
To decipher the late 1960′s through the story of Swede Levov, whose life is cast into the fires of those years, Roth calls again upon the saturnine side of his disposition. It answers to the purpose as never before. Good-looking, prosperous Swede, who has inherited his father’s glove factory in Newark, N.J., and married a former beauty queen, is not stupid, merely fulfille ...more
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Published January 1st 2003 by New Millennium Audio (first published 1997)
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Jd Don't underestimate a 15 year old reader. When I was 12, I've read Flowers in the Attic...this is nowhere close. If the 15 year old wants to read…moreDon't underestimate a 15 year old reader. When I was 12, I've read Flowers in the Attic...this is nowhere close. If the 15 year old wants to read it...celebrate the fact that he or she can read.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Caleb Tankersley
You figure "hey, it's Philip Roth. All sorts of awards. Might as well read his Pulitzer Prize winner. Can't be half bad, can it? can't be that bad. He's got other good stuff. This one must be good, too."

American Pastoral defies logic with its terrible, terrible writing. This was one of the most boring, most difficult to force myself through books I've ever read. Roth has clearly become more of an old man, rambling on and on about the good ole days of Newark, America, the countryside, glovemakin
...more
Samadrita
A quick perusal of my 'in-by-about-America' shelf will reveal a wide variety of titles ranging from popular fiction by the likes of Stephen King to the brand of post-modernist razzmatazz by the wonderfully perplexing Pynchon. Yet none of those books seem as American to me as American Pastoral is. Forget all the Great American Novels which swoop down on some of the 'Great American Issues' (this term is my invention yes!) like the Great Depression, racism, slavery, brutal and merciless killing of ...more
William1
Jul 02, 2016 William1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, us, 20-ce
Third reading. The book starts off as an homage to a man the narrator, Nathan Zuckerman, looked up to as a child because of his athletic achievements in local sports: Seymour Levov, the "Swede." It also presents itself in the early going as an homage to the so-called "greatest generation." But this opening is deceptive. For the closer we come to the Swede and his family the more we see his tragic flaws of character. Perhaps his most pervasive flaw is to be a nonthinker, a man for the most part w ...more
Helen Stavraki
Sep 27, 2016 Helen Stavraki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Σε όλη τη διάρκεια της απολαυστικής ανάγνωσης αυτού του βιβλίου αναρωτιέσαι γιατί εξελίχθηκαν όλα τόσο άσχημα,τόσο απρόσμενα αρνητικά ενώ οι βάσεις και οι προϋποθέσεις έδιναν μόνο θετικά αποτελέσματα και ιδεώδεις καταλήξεις.

Αυτή η ιστορία είναι ένας εφιάλτης, μια απροσδόκητη κόλαση λανθασμένων αποφάσεων,ανατρεπτικών αντιφάσεων,διαψευσμένων ονείρων και αναπάντεχων ατυχημάτων που έρχεται σε σύγκρουση με γεγονότα και καταστάσεις τα οποία σημάδεψαν οικογένειες,κοινωνίες,πόλεις,χώρες.

Σαν ένα ντόμιν
...more
Tuckova
Mar 11, 2011 Tuckova rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
I didn't finish it. I realized that life is probably too short, and certainly I read too slowly, to spend another minute with Philip Roth. He's Jewish, did you know? JEWISH. Also, he is a man. Men have penises, did you know? PENISES! that are very important and special self-starting things, and when they don't work it is an AMERICAN TRAGEDY, and when they do, well they just do stuff and we observe all of that with some very pretty sentences that almost distract a person from how we're basically ...more
orsodimondo
Oct 10, 2016 orsodimondo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
LA VITA È SOLO UN BREVE PERIODO DI TEMPO NEL QUALE SIAMO VIVI
Ecco un Grande Romanzo Americano.
Moderno e classico, come si conviene ai grandi, un affresco formidabile.
Il libro che contiene tutto, e che contiene il Tutto.
Pieno zeppo di temi argomenti cose e spunti di riflessione e discussione da straripare.

Così pieno e fecondo che io ho preso la mia strada sicuro di ritrovare alla fine quella maestra.
Quella che riconduce al Grande Romanzo Americano, al Sogno Americano, al sogno del figlio di emi
...more
Matt

The reason there is "shattering" shelf in my book list is because of a professor I had back in undergrad a million years ago. Her name was Marjorie, and she was great- smart as hell, kind, maternal, worldly. Her specialty was Chinese philosophy and Feminism. I think she had a bad go on a stairwell or something and she fractured her leg. She was on sick leave for several months as her bones reset and she basically learned to walk again.

When she got back (we were on friendly terms throughout, ev
...more
Jr Bacdayan
Mar 07, 2016 Jr Bacdayan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read an article about a year ago that supposedly describes Philip Roth’s rituals every time they announce a new Nobel Prize winner for Literature. It allegedly goes something like every year he travels to his agent’s office in New York awaiting the precious call. And every year it doesn’t come so he goes back home to Connecticut with his head down. This is all merely gossip, but I think that if this were true, it really reflects the attitude of what many people say is his magnum opus.

This is
...more
CK
Oct 08, 2007 CK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
OK let me just say that I am so. excited. about this book. My friend Cal recommended it to me a while back, and I finally got around to it. OH MY GOSH I've been missing out on Philip Roth! He is now my new favorite author. I know that's a rash judgment to make based on one book, but it's just that good.

Cal and I love a lot of the same books for entirely different reasons, which is fun. To put it simplistically (which I hate to do), Cal gets more excited about story / character development and I
...more
Perry
Oct 05, 2016 Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swede's Worst Nightmare: Detonating Daughter, Disintegrated Marriage


Weather Underground Motto, quoted in American Pastoral
"We are against everything that is good and decent in honky America. We will loot and burn and destroy. We are the incubation of your mothers' nightmares."
*4.4 stars*



The most popular guy in Newark's Weequahic High School Class of 1945, Seymour "Swede" Levov, who was the school's star athlete in 3 sports, was called Swede due to his blonde hair, blue eyes and Nordic looks
...more
brain
Jan 20, 2008 brain rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: David Koresh, Roger Clemens, my asshole neighbor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darwin8u
Oct 22, 2016 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
“There are no reasons. She is obliged to be as she is. We all are. Reasons are in books.”
― Philip Roth, American Pastoral

description
Jeffery Pugh's Tree Huggers

Wow. I remember reading Underworld and thinking, "why didn't it win more awards?" Perhaps, it is simply the small issue of it was published in the same year as 'American Pastoral'. The idea of two great American Novels, one Jewish and one WASP, both published in 1997 -- is absolutely incredible. Order meets chaos. Civilization is unraveled. The fami
...more
Brad
Feb 12, 2016 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
T. S. Eliot said it clearer.

But, I will grudgingly admit, there were a lot of things to love about this novel, even if I never fell IN love with it.

What I liked most was the transformation of all these identical events from "all-surface" from the beginning to the nearly mad-ramblings of internal monologue by the end. There was no sharp delineation. It was like I was being boiled alive like a lobster, learning that all the good and true things of the world are, in fact, illusion and subterfuge, e
...more
Ilenia Zodiaco
Cosa c'è da aggiungere se non questo?

"Come penetrare nell'intimo della gente? Era una dote o una capacità che non possedeva. Non aveva, semplicemente, la combinazione di quella serratura. Prendeva per buono chi lanciava i segnali della bontà. Prendeva per leale chi lanciava i segnali della lealtà. Prendeva per intelligente chi lanciava i segnali dell'intelligenza. E fino a quel momento non era riuscito a vedere dentro sua figlia, non era riuscito a vedere dentro sua moglie, non era riuscito a ve
...more
Seth
Jul 10, 2007 Seth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly a lot of research went into this book. I only wish Roth hadn’t been so compelled to show off every single trinket of minutiae, arcania, and esoterica (yes, I invent words when necessary) that he could acquire relating to the glove-making industry in New Jersey.

The book is unquestionably too long, and the political allegory can feel a bit oppressive as one strives to believe in characters that remain just short of plausible (excepting a few bit players, such as the bullying heart surgeon
...more
Maria Thomarey
1) φορα ·Με το ζόρι ....2φορα : δε μου αρεσε . Οχι ... Ειχε κάποια ενδιαφέροντα πράγματα αλλα δεν τρελαθηκΑ ούτε αλλαξ γνώμη
Tony
Aug 08, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vietnam, u-s-lit
Nathan Zuckerman, Philip Roth's alter ego, appears here, a novelist like Roth, but once known as a single-minded kid searching the neighborhood for a grape to burst. Unlike Serenus Zeitblom, however, Zuckerman knows when to exit and let the story speak. That grape.

That grape is Seymour Levov, The Swede, because he does not look Jewish. The Swede was a star athlete, and followed into his father's glove-making business. He will become a multi-millionaire, marry a Miss New Jersey, own the old house
...more
El
Back in late 2004 I had a lot of things happening: I had just gone through a significant break-up in October of that year, I had a bit of an uncomfortable situation with a not-so-secret-admirer sniffing around where I worked at the time, and I was in the early stages of a new relationship that I wasn't sure I wanted to even be a relationship. That December I was having a hard enough time reading one page, let alone finishing any actual books.

I picked up Philip Roth's The Plot Against America tha
...more
Sandra
Sep 20, 2012 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, usa
E' il primo libro di Philip Roth che leggo e di sicuro non sarà l'ultimo.
Il romanzo ha una struttura narrativa basata su flashback dentro flasback, che a volte rendono difficoltosa la lettura, ma mai pesante nè noiosa.
Una scrittura meravigliosa, nella quale neppure una parola è inappropriata né un pensiero ridondante.
La storia è narrata dallo scrittore Nathan Zuckerman, "alter ego" di Roth, che nel 1995 incontra un suo vecchio compagno di scuola, Seymour Levov detto lo Svedese, un ebreo ameri
...more
Fran
Sep 12, 2016 Fran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gdl, alpha2015, task54
A questo punto mi toccherà riconsiderare le cinque stelle attribuite finora.

C'è tutto: il percorso di un uomo, la storia della famiglia e dei singoli componenti e poi la Storia, l'evolversi di una nazione e della sua cultura: il dissolversi del sogno americano.

E' stata una delle riletture più illuminanti mai fatte, esiste davvero il tempo giusto per ciascun libro.
Lucrezia
Feb 01, 2015 Lucrezia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Rimane il fatto che, in ogni modo, capire la gente non è vivere. Vivere è capirla male, capirla male e male e poi male e, dopo un attento riesame, ancora male. Ecco come sappiamo di essere vivi: sbagliando. Forse la cosa migliore sarebbe dimenticare di aver ragione o torto sulla gente e godersi semplicemente la gita. Ma se ci riuscite... Beh, siete fortunati."

Philip Roth è entrato di gran carriera nella schiera degli scrittori americani che rispetto a di fronte al quale non posso che tacere e a
...more
James
Sep 09, 2008 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gerald Floman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wynne
Mar 10, 2009 Wynne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the most self-indulgent, pointless book I have ever read. I would string together a series of poorly crafted run-on sentences to attempt to describe this terrible work, but then I would be simply imitating Roth.

I wish that I had the hours that it took me to read this book back. I also wish that Roth's editor would come to my apartment so that I could punch her/him in the face. An utterly pointless story coupled with, as aforementioned, ridiculously self-indulgent and dense prose, made t
...more
Cosimo
Oct 05, 2016 Cosimo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il diritto di lasciare

“Sua figlia era una folle assassina che si nascondeva sul pavimento di una stanza di Newark, sua moglie aveva un amante che fingeva di scoparla sopra il lavandino della cucina, la sua ex amante aveva portato coscientemente la sua famiglia al disastro e lui stava cercando di ingraziarsi suo padre spaccando il capello in quattro”.

Non c'è nulla di male nell'essere deboli come Seymour Levov, Lo Svedese. Ragione e passione lo insegnano. La storia che Roth racconta ha un valore s
...more
Margherita Vaiana
Un libro folgorante, difficile da metabolizzare.
Sembra quasi di assistere ad una sorta di rifrazione della costruzione narrativa. Quando un fascio di luce bianca incide sulla superficie di una gemma trasparente e sfaccettata, attraversandola, si verifica una doppia rifrazione (perché due sono le facce del prisma che la luce incontra propagandosi). Analogamente, la storia in questione è doppiamente rifratta dalla penna di Philip Roth e da quella di Nathan Zuckerman: a narrare l'intera vicenda è
...more
Ingrid
Nov 01, 2016 Ingrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grandissimo romanzo. Mi è piaciuto più nella sostanza che nella forma, nel senso che per me è stata una lettura difficile, un po' faticosa, ma nonostante tutto l'ho trovato veramente eccellente per idea, struttura e personaggi. Raccontare la storia americana degli anni 60-70 partendo anche dalla contrapposizione generazionale: da una parte l’operosità e l’attaccamento ai valori della vecchia generazione, rappresentata dai Levov padre e figlio e dalla loro fiorente attività, la cui altra faccia c ...more
Fabian
Dec 26, 2016 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone knows just how completely mad I am for “The Human Stain.” I think it really is one of the most brilliant books of all time—seriously. Roth is famous for his prose, for his lengthy sentences which in turn become lengthy paragraphs. The Pulitzer Prize was given prematurely in this instance, for "American Pastoral" has just an ounce of the brilliance of his later work (which still won awards, though not THAT one). This one is unnecessarily long because it deals with one central event, with ...more
AC
What an astonishing, magnificent book -- and tour de force -- I will leave it to the reader to discover whether it is a tragedy or a comedy...

I listened to this book on audible -- it is read by Ron Silver, the actor -- and his performance is magnificent. The whole felt like a long one-act play.
Jan Rice
Dec 17, 2016 Jan Rice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just completed my reread of American Pastoral, I want to begin my updated review in an unusual way, with two quotes from authors that are not Philip Roth:

Tornadoes are a good metaphor for how bad things happen in our lives. They build from small disturbances that usually don't mean a thing and almost always dissipate. But somehow one particular random event attracts others, and all of them together grow and attract more nasty stuff. Once it gets up to a critical size, the odds of it growi
...more
Kinga
Feb 28, 2015 Kinga rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second, after Nemesis, book by Roth. Clearly, I read them the wrong way round, as ‘The American Pastoral’ is the original 'Nemesis'. It’s the same story of an all-round American Golden Boy broken and destroyed, although here it’s women who do the breaking and destroying. The Swede, our Golden Boy is undone first by his daughter and then by his wife. But then he remarries and has three sons and life is good and wholesome again. It’s almost comical the way every single woman in this book is res ...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
More about Philip Roth...

Other Books in the Series

The American Trilogy (3 books)
  • I Married a Communist (The American Trilogy, #2)
  • The Human Stain (The American Trilogy, #3)

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“You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion. ... The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that -- well, lucky you.” 357 likes
“He had learned the worst lesson that life can teach - that it makes no sense.” 254 likes
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