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Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  13,140 Ratings  ·  711 Reviews
National Book Award Winner Philip Roth's brilliant career was launched when the unknown twenty-five-year-old writer won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship for a collection that was to be called "Goodbye, Columbus," and which, in turn, captured the 1960 National Book Award. In the famous title story, perhaps the best college love story ever written, Radcliffe-bound Br ...more
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Published October 18th 1989 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1959)
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Stu Moore All of Goodbye, Columbus and then the American Trilogy - American Pastoral, The Human Stain, I Married a Communist. Then you might want to go back and…moreAll of Goodbye, Columbus and then the American Trilogy - American Pastoral, The Human Stain, I Married a Communist. Then you might want to go back and read the beginning of Zuckerman, The Ghost Writer, etc. He is really fantastic.(less)
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Mac
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is his first book. Screw him.
Michael Finocchiaro
This collection of stories is splendid. Unbelievable that they were the very first ones Roth published as they are already so evocative and polished. If you were put off by Roth because you only read Portnoy's Complaint or Sabbath's Theater, you should read this book to see that there is a whole other side to Roth and a beautiful sensitivity as well.
Fabian
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roth is a cosmic anomaly.* He wins Major Award #1 (out of like, a dozen TOTAL)--the National Book Award--for this, his freshman effort, thereby launching his oeuvre, his contributions to the zeitgeist, his Master's talent and CONFIDENCE. But does it deserve it?

For the future career of this literary cosmonaut, yes; but as a stand alone debut? Absolutely not!

It is a love story of a "I'm this type of Jew but you are this type of Jew" variety. Historically significant, yet overrated, overpraised. "K
...more
Evan
"Curiously, the darkness seemed to have something to do with Harriet, Ron's intended, and I thought for a time that it was simply the reality of Harriet's arrival that had dramatized the passing of time: we had been talking about it and now suddenly it was here — just as Brenda's departure would be here before we knew it." -Goodbye, Columbus

How often do I think of the passing of time in this way, as Roth describes it in this poignant, wistful and utterly beautiful book. "Goodbye, Columbus" alrea
...more
Peter
If Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the New York novella about flirting with the city’s upper crust, then Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus is the suburban story for the rest of us.

A coming-of-age story about a summer romance, it plumbs tensions from class, generational, religious, and educational differences, and it does so in a way that is instinctive and visceral. While not the most self-aware, sensitive, or rational, the story’s characters—Neil Klugman, a twenty-three year-old man fro
...more
Elina
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1 νουβέλα και 5 διηγήματα! Το πρώτο βιβλίο που έγραψε ο Roth όταν ήταν 26 χρονών! Και μόνο για αυτό το λόγο αξίζει τα 4 αστεράκια!!!
Jenny
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: character, setting
This is probably the fourth time I've read this book and every time I do, it feels like I'm reliving falling in love for the first time all over again. I chose Goodbye, Columbus as a read aloud book to share with someone special and hearing or speaking Roth's words made me much more aware of the humor and the cadence of the New Jersey Jewish speech. Aunt Gladys is the Jewish aunt I never had and I want her to nag and fuss over me too.

It is a story about loss and longing, the ending of things, bo
...more
Iris
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What's yr take on P-Roth? During the hubbub around the recent awarding of a Man Booker prize to Philip Roth, I was moved to revisit him by reading this novella, published when he was 26. "Goodbye, Columbus" was sensitive and fine, complicating my reaction to his prize. I initially sided with Carmen Calil, the Booker judge who abandoned the committee when the two-to-one vote favored Roth. Like Calil, I just can't take a writer seriously if he cannot and will not consider the lives of non-alter-eg ...more
Scott Rhee
The first-ever book by Philip Roth that I read, in college, for a course in Literature & Film, "Goodbye, Columbus" is a semi-autobiographical story about young love/lust. The movie version of this novella, by the way, kind of sucks. I fell in love with the book and Roth's prose style immediately. I understand why he has been accused of being misogynistic in his writing, and I don't totally disagree, but I am inclined to say that he strikes me more as someone who is simply being honest about ...more
Kathy Ahn
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
I wasn't really sure where "Goodbye, Columbus" (the title piece of the collection) was going at first and didn't like any of the characters, but Roth has a special way of making seemingly inconsequential things become transformative and meaningful. I still vehemently disliked the characters at the end, but was somehow touched by them.

Many of the other stories in this collection are similar in this way. The people in the stories themselves aren't significant or even sometimes, likable, but they a
...more
Jessica
Okay, so this is finally happening.

---

I assumed I'd have some overpowering reaction to this now that I was finally reading it (I only read the novella, not the other stories), but I didn't. Now I guess I get why people like Philip Roth so much: he's a terrific writer, and I enjoyed reading this book. I got a little bored halfway through, nothing serious, but I wasn't as crazy about it as I was at the start and didn't itch to pick it back up when I'd happened to set it down.

I feel embarrassed and
...more
Conor
Finished this en route to the Women's March in D.C., in the post-industrial N. New Jersey leg of that trip as a matter of fact.

I knew that this was Roth's first book, but I didn't know he was 26 when it came out! Jesus, what a talent. It's probably a stronger debut than that other 20th C. American wunderkind Fitzgerald's (younger!) debut book, This Side of Paradise, but I think this book does more for setting expectations about themes and voices for Roth's career than Paradise did for soggy old
...more
Fernando
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este es el noveno libro de Roth que me leo. Hasta ahora siempre me había quejado de lo mismo, me daba la impresión de que no sabía cerrar bien las historias, de que sus finales nunca eran redondos. Goodbye Columbus, el relato que da nombre al libro, me ha hecho replantearme mi opinión. La historia termina de una manera incluso más abrupta que de costumbre. No se si Roth lo hace aposta o no, pero me doy cuenta ahora de que sus historias suelen empezar también de manera abrupta. Entramos en ellas ...more
Shane
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roths’s earlier books are fresh, humorous and vibrant compared to his recent work that is self-obsessed with aging, potency and dying. Goodbye Columbus is just such a vibrant collection that portrays, with humour, the angst of the Jews in New Jersey, transplanted from the recent Holocaust, and trying to find their place in the New World, hindered by a Socialist past, yet striving to become part of the Capitalist ideal.

In the title story—a poor-boy-meets-rich-girl (who was once poor but can’t re
...more
Ram
May 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
A few weeks ago I bumped into an article titled
“Is David Blatt a Philip Roth Character?”

To those of you who do not know, David Blatt is the head coach of the Cavs He is Jewish and Lived for the last 30 years in Israel

I had not heard of Philip Roth and I decided to read one of his novels
A collection of 5 short stories, I liked most of .
The book seems at many stages as a Woody Allen movie script, and I found some of the scenes funny.

Since then I imagine how David Blatt would sound as a Philip R
...more
Diabolika
Goodbye, Columbus: 3*
La prima storia, che da' anche il titolo al volume, è agro-dolce: l'innamoramento vissuto con tutte le paure del primo bacio, della "prima volta", dei primi screzi. La storia è appassionante e l'ho letta tutto d'un fiato per scoprire come andasse a finire (anche se durante la lettura i segni erano abbastanza premonitori).

La conversione degli ebrei: 3*
Molto carina e divertente. Un giovane ragazzino ebreo alle prese con la scuola di religione (il "nostro" catechismo, immagino)
...more
Charles Clymer
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second Philip Roth book. My first was "Portnoy's Complaint", which, in retrospect, was a mistake to read first.

Don't get me wrong: "Portnoy's Complaint" is a classic, but it's not a masterpiece. "Goodbye, Columbus" is absolutely a masterpiece, and I was completely struck by the difference in tone and structure between the two.

"Goodbye, Columbus", at its heart, is a novella and collection of short stories that address the Jewish Diaspora. When the book premiered, Roth--who is Jewish hi
...more
Rhonda
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
When I first read Roth's Portnoy's Complaint in college, I confess that I was socially unable to truly understand it. I wasn't Jewish, I didn't grow up in New Yawk and, lastly, I didn't understand why one wouldn't, apparently like most of the University of Miami population, just go elsewhere. Still the title story is by far my favorite of Roth's stories, one which talks about both social insecurities and mistrust. Unlike others, I saw this as a natural outgrowth of the world, but that's another ...more
Grant
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a book of stories and one novella. the novella is the title piece, "goodbye, columbus" and i think the reason i did not give the book 5 stars is that the novella was not as strong as the stories. that said, it is funny. it is good writing. the characters and situation are relateable. but the stories are where roth shines in my opinion. the first two, "the conversion of the jews" and "defender of the faith" i'd read before, but like any good story, they are both deserving of a second, third, four ...more
Lobstergirl
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paige Patterson
Shelves: fiction
I needed to read this because it's Roth's urtext, and because I seem to be reading through Roth intermittently but steadily. I didn't exactly enjoy it, though it's certainly well written. It has that youthful angsty atmosphere that permeates many debut romans à clef (like The Bell Jar, The Rachel Papers, The Catcher in the Rye) and it introduces sexual dilemmas which I'm guessing were quite cutting edge in 1959. The five short stories following the novella are severely Jewish (yeshivas and the l ...more
Judy


At last, I am no longer a Philip Roth virgin. He broke out with this collection of the novella, Goodbye, Columbus and five short stories, for which he won the National Book Award in 1960.

The theme of all the pieces is second and third-generation Jews moving from the ghetto into assimilation as Americans. I liked the novella for its characters and plot, though he stole shamelessly from Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar. I fell shamelessly into the love story between Neil Klugman, poor New York C
...more
Alexandra
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Michael Chabon's early work, shiksas with a fetish, Franny and Zooey fans
Recommended to Alexandra by: Dustin K.
Tenderly rendered. Goodbye, Columbus is a bit exasperating, as I take issue with these young whiny East-coast Jewish male protagonists (Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, I'm looking at you) who can't handle the women they're with and so bail on them like the big cry babies they are, but the short stories--especially and forever Eli, The Fanatic--are worth talking about.
Nick
“Goodbye, Columbus” ★★★★★
“The Conversion of the Jews” ★★★★
“Defender of the Faith” ★★★★
“Epstein” ★★★★
“You Can’t Tell a Man by the Song He Sings” ★★★★
“Eli, the Fanatic” ★★★★
Ryan
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, ebook
Over the past 20-plus years, stretching back to college, I’ve read, by my count, five Philip Roth novels: first was “Portnoy’s Complaint,” followed by “My Life as a Man,” “The Breast,” “The Anatomy Lesson,” and finally “The Counterlife,” which, according to Goodreads, was six years ago. If those choices seem haphazard, they were: those were the Philip Roth books on the shelf, either those of my ex-wife when we were together, or those I inherited when we separated.

Although I enjoyed reading each
...more
Jake Danishevsky
It is another amazing book by Philip Roth. The book has great story line and characters. When I first discovered this book, it was the first one of the first Philip Roth books that I have purchased on recommendation from my wife. She was actually required to read it in school and then the entire class was evaluating and discussing the story, Goodbye Columbus. She described that the reasons that they were asked to read and discuss it was due to the class distinction between Neil's and Brenda's st ...more
Patrick
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rooney 1
Patrick Rooney
LTMO 144D
Professor Bruce Thompson
7 June 2011

Philip Roth’s debut novel, Goodbye, Columbus, is in part a window into secular Jewish life in the fifties era. Twenty-three year-old Neil juggles life and love while tolerating Jewish woes from the immortal (clinging, over-bearing mother figure) to the unique time period, which pits reactionary developments against the first hesitant stirrings of the sexual revolution to come.

Goodbye, Columbus follows Neil’s first love affair, a b
...more
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Off the bat, this is a well-written, well-crafted collection of short stories. The problem is that I can't emotionally invest in them because I can't relate to the characters. They're about what (I assume) upper-middle class jewish families in America and first world problems. Perfectly fine, of course, but just not my thing. The novella was most relatable because of the themes of coming of age, first love and class discrimination that an be translated to almost any other culture. The other shor ...more
Julia
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
for some reason somehow I had received the impression that Roth wasn't really worth it, probably because of the whole misogynistic self-hating Jew thing, and now I feel like I've been lied to? because this was really good?
anyway I didn't mean to read this—I have very many books of my own I have yet to read—but I was inspecting one of my parents' bookcases to settle something regarding john cheever and after that I was pulling some books in and out of shelves as I am wont to do and this was one
...more
Pedro
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mis lecturas se distinguen en dos bloques. Parece lo mismo pero no lo es. Leo libros y leo a autores. A veces me apetece mucho leer un libro por la trama, por la estética o por una suerte de intuición literaria que pocas veces se equivoca y descubro a un autor. Y quiero seguir leyendo su obra. Otras veces no sucede tal cual. La lectura se agota en ese libro. O se pospone sine die hasta que me vuelva a apetecer. No pasa eso con los autores. Administro su obra. Lo hago como un yonqui que pasara un ...more
Abram Dorrough
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Angelic. Enrapturing. Roth maintains a gorgeous, mesmeric prose style; it is beautiful without ever becoming abstruse in the slightest. The dialogue is incredibly real. I can't believe this is his first book.
Anybody who has felt a first love can sympathize with the dear narrator. The story and its characters breathe authenticity.
This book makes me want to read more Roth, for entirely different reasons than Portnoy's Complaint spurred me on to read more Roth. I am amazed.
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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...
“Actually we did not have the feelings we said we had until we spoke them--at least I didn't; to phrase them was to invent them and own them.” 72 likes
“I did not want to voice a word that would lift the cover and reveal that hideous emotion I always felt for her, the underside of love.” 6 likes
More quotes…