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American Pastoral (The American Trilogy #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  49,368 Ratings  ·  3,553 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)
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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)
Jigar Better late than never...

The themes are immigration, more specifically Jewish immigration; industrial development in New Jersey; attitudes to the…more
Better late than never...

The themes are immigration, more specifically Jewish immigration; industrial development in New Jersey; attitudes to the Vietnam war; terrorism and its psychological impact; generational differences; familial concerns such as illness, death and affairs.

The plot, in my view, is more of a backdrop to explore all these issues.(less)
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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
William1
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20-ce, fiction, 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
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
Tuckova
Mar 11, 2011 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
Manju
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος   Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο   Αμούν Arnum
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
Duane
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
...more
Julie
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
...more
Orsodimondo
Jul 13, 2016 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
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
...more
David Schaafsma
Apparently Philip Roth is a difficult man. Possibly an asshole. He has a reputation, by his own admission, as a cad, a bounder, profligate. 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, heard it was awful and made HER look as crazy as him). I read his early works, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Goodbye, Columbus, in the early- ...more
brain
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.
Cosimo
Oct 05, 2016 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
Robin
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 pr
...more
CK
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
...more
Fabian
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
Ted
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
...more
Perry
Apr 28, 2012 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
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
...more
Darwin8u
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

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
Fran
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gdl, 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.
Chrissie
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
...more
Seth
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
...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
Bradley
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
João Carlos
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014, 2014best, favorites
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUbXl...

Mais um filme para ver...



Philip Roth (n. 1933)

O livro “Pastoral Americana” do escritor norte-americano Philip Roth (n. 1933) foi editado em 1997 - é o primeiro volume da denominada Trilogia Americana, juntamente com “Casei com um Comunista” e “A Mancha Humana” - e tem como narrador o seu alter-ego Nathan Zuckerman.
Zuckerman dá voz a Seymour Irving Levov, mais conhecido por “Sueco”, um jovem “perfeito”, alegre e fisicamente atraente, com um comportamento ir
...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.
Chiara Sono sempre vissuta nel castello
Dovete assolutamente leggerlo tutti, inizio così a parlarvi di questo libro che mi ha sconvolta, Pastorale Americana è un manifesto contro i punti saldi di un pensiero conservatore, cieco e borghese. Più che mai questo libro è assolutamente attuale, la pastorale americana (non solo americana) è l’idea di vita perfetta, onesta che ha il protagonista (l’americano felice ligio al dovere), in cui nulla può andare storto, nulla si può infiltrare, un’idea che non può esistere e che si risolverà nella ...more
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4,160 followers
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
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.” 400 likes
“He had learned the worst lesson that life can teach - that it makes no sense.” 290 likes
More quotes…