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Pastorale americana

(Complete Nathan Zuckerman #6)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  69,625 ratings  ·  4,849 reviews
Seymour Levov è alto, biondo e atletico. Malgrado sia di origine ebraica al liceo lo chiamano "lo Svedese". Negli anni '50 sposa miss New Jersey, avviandosi ad una vita di lavoro nella fabbrica del padre. Nella sua splendida villa cresce Merry, la figlia cagionevole e balbuziente. Finché arriva il giorno in cui le contraddizioni del paese raggiungono la soglia del suo rifu ...more
Paperback, Super ET, 458 pages
Published August 2005 by Einaudi (first published May 12th 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 it..…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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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Michael Finocchiaro
It is getting exceedingly rare to find books that are well-written and yet hard-hitting and surprising at nearly every turn. Usually, you get just one (like the nearly unreadable Infinite Jest that I can still not get through) or the other (like The Outfit or, say, Game of Thrones). So, when my movie producer friend mentioned that his employer Lakeshore Entertainment would be releasing a film version of Roth’s American Pastoral, I picked the book up (my first by Roth) and I was blown away. It is ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 20-ce, us
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
I was not a fan.
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
Dave Schaafsma
This is Roth's masterpiece, in case you want to read one or two of his books, now that he is gone. Apparently Philip Roth was a difficult man. He had a reputation, by his own admission, as a cad, a bounder, profligate. "Reputation," which doesn't mean it is true, though it may be. His ex-wife, the actress Claire Bloom, with whom he lived for something like 18 years, castigates him in a memoir that makes him look almost psychotically ruthless, I seem to recall from reviews (never read the book, h ...more
Em Lost In Books
"Everybody who flashed the signs of intelligence he took to be intelligent. And so he had failed to see into his daughter, failed to see into his wife, failed to see into his one and only mistress - probably had never even begun to see into himself. What was he, stripped of all the signs he flashed? People were standing up everywhere shouting, "This is me! This is me!" Every time you looked at them they stood up and told you who they were, and the truth of it was that they had no more idea of wh ...more
1998 Pulitzer Prize
Time Magazines 100 best novels

I read my fair share of books and most of those are "classics", so usually, as a whole, they are highly rated, highly regarded books. But even with that, occasionally a book comes along that raises it's head above the rest. This is one of those books for me. It's difficult to explain this book to others, even difficult to completely understand myself, because it doesn't flow in a straight line like most books, non-linear I think they call it. But
American Pastoral by Philip Roth is a 1997 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publication.

This book doesn’t need much of an analysis from me, especially since so many have voiced such eloquent and poignant reviews of ‘one of the best novels ever written’, and have broken it down and analyzed it in great qualified detail.

However, I did have a few random thoughts about the book-

The book is not upbeat, not once, not ever. It’s moody, sad, and weighted down with the heaviness of yearning, regret, and disil
My awareness of this book came from my wife and some of her friends from college. It was legendary as the single most awful experience during their first four years of higher education. You would think that would keep me away . . . But, after several years of putting it off I finally said, "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!"

It was not the worst book I have ever read. It was not the greatest book I have ever read. I have seen some people sing it's praises as vehemently as the loathing my wife and her friends f

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
Overwritten, self-indulgent version of Paradise Lost

I have mixed feelings about this 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning book. On one hand, I am enamoured with the power and grandness of the story, which is brought out by zoning in on one man, Seymour "The Swede" Levov. He is the beautiful American archetype, living in an idyllic countryside... then all goes to shit. His daughter Merry baffles and betrays all that he is when she becomes an uncontrollable teenager who resorts to acts of terrorism in
Nov 25, 2007 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.
Mar 18, 2013 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
Violet wells
Should be a five star book and would have been with a good editor. As it stands Roth’s self-pleasuring digressions, his pedantic cataloging of sideshow detail kept spoiling it for me. Still a brilliant achievement but there were times when I wished Saul Bellow had written it.
Jr Bacdayan
Nov 05, 2015 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
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detonating Daughter, Disintegrated Marriage

"A forty-fifth reunion is not the best place to come looking for ass."

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. He was the elder son of a successful Jewish American glove manufacturer. He eventually takes over dad's glove factory and marries the Miss New Jersey 1949, an Irish Catholic
Jul 12, 2007 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
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ted by: Jr Bacdayan
Yes, the breach had been pounded in their fortification, even out here in secure old Rimrock, and now that it was opened it would not be closed again… All the voices from without, condemning and rejecting their life!

A reviewer, normal, long-winded, often boring.
That reviewer's alter ego, may think he's more interesting, but actually quite like the former
An author, Roth by name
A fictional author, Nathan Zuckerman, who has many apparent links to the latter

The sixth (by publication date) of Roth's
Jan Rice
Jul 24, 2011 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
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 15, 2007 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
Mar 06, 2011 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

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
The central theme of this book concerns a father’s love for his daughter who commits a reprehensible deed, a misdeed that is scarcely forgivable. That one misdeed becomes several. The daughter, Merry, (view spoiler), with full cognizance and intent. The deeds are planned. The relationship between the daughter and her parents disintegrates totally. Who is responsible? Any parent would ask this.

The father, Seymour Levov, nicknamed the “Swede”, is tall, blond and h
I discovered Philip Roth last summer, when I picked up a used copy of "The Human Stain" and proceeded to have my mind completely blown by both the story and Roth's incredible writing. I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to dive into "American Pastoral": when you fall in love with a book and pursue the author's other works, you always run the risk of being severely disapointed - and people seem to either love or hate this book with a suprising passion…

I'm happy to report that I was not di
Aug 11, 2008 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
Mar 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pub-1997
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
robin friedman
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
American Pastoral

Philip Roth's Pulitzer-Prize winning novel "American Pastoral" (1997) tells the story of Seymour "Swede" Levov and his life of tragedy beneath every outward sign of success. I thought it might be painful to read this book, with its twin focus on the decade of the 1960s and the War in Vietnam and on the much-visited preoccupation, novelistic and otherwise, with the nature of Jewish identity. Both subjects can still be raw for me. Roth handles them in this novel with thought, refl
Steven Godin
I hold Philip Roth in quite high regards and would liken him to a bottle of vintage fine wine, his books might not be the most exciting page turners in the world but they are deep, thoughtful, intelligent and slow burning(a retired history professor reading a Roth novel with a cuban cigar and a swig of brandy comes to mind!), and although from what I have read of his work so far this would be my least favourite it's not the sinking ship that others have made it out to be, yes at times it was bor ...more
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
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Philip Milton Roth was 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 in ...more

Other books in the series

Complete Nathan Zuckerman (9 books)
  • The Ghost Writer
  • Zuckerman Unbound
  • The Anatomy Lesson
  • The Prague Orgy
  • The Counterlife
  • I Married a Communist (Complete Nathan Zuckerman #7/The American Trilogy, #2)
  • The Human Stain (The American Trilogy, #3)
  • Exit Ghost (Complete Nathan Zuckerman, #9)

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