Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “American Pastoral (The American Trilogy, #1)” as Want to Read:
American Pastoral (The American Trilogy, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

American Pastoral (The American Trilogy #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  37,412 Ratings  ·  2,584 Reviews
American Pastoral is the story of a fortunate American's rise and fall - of a strong, confident master of social equilibrium overwhelmed by the forces of social disorder. Seymour "Swede" Levov - a legendary high school athlete, a devoted family man, a hard worker, the prosperous inheritor of his father's Newark glove factory - comes of age in thriving, triumphant postwar A ...more
ebook, 432 pages
Published May 12th 1997 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about American Pastoral, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
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
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
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

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
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
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.
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
Jun 04, 2016 Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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." Motto of the Weathermen later called Weather Underground, as quoted in American Pastoral

"And there's some rumors going 'round, someone's underground..." D. Henley, B. Leadon, Witchy Woman, 1972.

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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Dec 01, 2015 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.
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
Il basket è un'altra cosa

Questa è la vita.
È la vita imperfetta di Seymour Levov, Lo Svedese.
Ebreo statunitense di terza generazione, rappresentante della middle class prima e della upper class poi, padre esemplare e marito devoto per sedici anni, fino a quando l'esplosione di una bomba manda in frantumi, non solo metaforicamente, la sua esistenza.
Lo Svedese incarna alla perfezione l'archetipo umano del sogno americano: bello e bravo, campione di football, di baseball e di basket al college, impr
Greta tra le righe
Ci ho messo parecchio tempo per riuscire a digerire (e non credo di esserci ancora riuscita) "Pastorale americana". Questo solitamente significa che un libro non mi sia piaciuto moltissimo, ma in questo caso si tratta proprio del contrario: non so da quanto tempo non mi capitava un romanzo talmente bello, talmente denso, duro, incisivo da non permettermi di leggere in maniera troppo spedita, perché ogni pagina, ogni paragrafo aveva bisogno di essere masticato, assimilato, indagato e trattenuto a ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As I neared the end of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, I couldn’t help but recall Henry James’s tag about Russian novels being “loose and baggy monsters,” and how I might apply that description to Roth’s effort. This is my third Roth (Goodbye Columbus and Everyman being the other two), and my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite a read, a sheer avalanche of words, emotions, history, characters, and glove making. There’s a real whiteness-of-the-whale accumulation of details here that s ...more
[febbraio 2013]
Il mio commento tecnico su "Pastorale americana" suonerebbe circa come un "Dio mio, Philip Roth!" e potremmo chiuderla qui, però forse è meglio dire qualcosa in più.

Questo è il tipo di libro di 400 e passa pagine che quando lo chiudi ne senti già la mancanza, nonostante l'averci passato già tante ore (notturne, magari) sopra. Roth sa scrivere, Roth scrive bene, Roth dipinge con le parole, Roth sorprende, Roth fa un uso del flashback e del flashforward da rabbrividire, Roth ti scio
Mar 17, 2010 Reese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-the-best
Consider Einstein's definition of "insanity," selected by 12,209 Goodreads readers as one of their favorite quotations: "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Chutzpah: Pointing out the incompleteness of a genius's definition. Nevertheless, I'm proposing the inclusion of the words "in a laboratory." Yes, we often get nowhere by repeatedly doing what doesn't work. Meet Roth's (or Nate Zuckerman's) Seymour Levov, who desperately wants recollection and ...more
Ще е много недостатъчно, ако напиша, че харесах книгата, че мислих за нея. През последните четири дни бях нещо като леко обсебена от семейство Левов - толкова перфектно в нещастието си или пък нещастно в перфектността си. Разсъждавах за всички причини, които водят от подреденото ежедневие до абсолютния хаос - случайността (какво е случайно изобщо?), предопределеността (дали?!), подминатите знаци, другите възможни сценарии, които животът просто не поднася.
Трябва да се спомене, че писането на Рот
Glenn Sumi
Wow. What a magnificent, overwritten, powerful, inventive, angry and necessary book. I am stunned into submission and admiration.
Review to follow after I read something much, much lighter.
Apr 19, 2015 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was sharing about this book today with a friend. It's an extraordinary powerful wrenching novel: A best among the bests!!!
Cosa sei, tu? Lo sai? Tu sei quello che è sempre lì a cercare di minimizzare le cose. Sempre lì che si sforza di essere moderato. Mai dire la verità, se credi che possa ferire i sentimenti di qualcuno. Sempre pronto ai compromessi.

Seymour Levov , "lo Svedese", rappresenta il viso bello dell'America; l'assunto secondo il quale l'uomo abbia diritto alla felicità nella vita, come riporta la Costituzione americana, e che lo Stato si debba prodigare verso questo alto principio.
Seymour è alto, biondo,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: American Pastoral, by Philip Roth 3 11 Jun 27, 2016 02:24PM  
  • The Store
  • Elbow Room
  • Early Autumn: A Story of a Lady
  • Humboldt's Gift
  • The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
  • Guard of Honor
  • Years of Grace
  • Honey in the Horn
  • The Edge of Sadness
  • In This Our Life
  • Journey in the Dark
  • Independence Day
  • Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom, #4)
  • Dragon's Teeth
  • Now in November
  • The Able McLaughlins
  • Scarlet Sister Mary
  • The Town
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)

Share This Book

“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.” 328 likes
“He had learned the worst lesson that life can teach - that it makes no sense.” 241 likes
More quotes…