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American Pastoral | [Philip Roth]

American Pastoral

Seymour "Swede" Levov is a prosperous, hard-working family man who comes of age in America's triumphant postwar era. But when the country begins to run amok in the 1960s, Swede's perfect world crumbles.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 1998

Seymour "Swede" Levov is a prosperous, hard-working family man who comes of age in America's triumphant postwar era. The owner of a Newark glove factory, Swede leads a blissful existence, complete with a 170-year-old stone farmhouse, a beautiful wife - Miss New Jersey 1949 - and a lively, precocious daughter. But when the country begins to run amok in the 1960s, Swede's perfect world crumbles. His cherished daughter becomes a revolutionary terrorist, bent on destroying everything her father holds dear. In chronicling Swede's rise and fall, author Philip Roth paints a vivid portrait of a man swept away by a current of conflict and violence in his own backyard.

Copyright ©1997 by Philip Roth; Copyright (P)1997 by Dove Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

Audie Award Winner, Best Solo Narration by a Male, 1998

"One of Roth's most powerful novels ever...moving, generous and ambitious...a fiercely affecting work of art." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

"Dazzling...a wrenching, compassionate, intelligent novel...gorgeous." (Boston Globe)

"At once expansive and painstakingly detailed.... The pages of American Pastoral crackle with the electricity and zest of a first-rate mind at work." (San Francisco Chronicle)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (854 )
5 star
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4.1 (301 )
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Story
4.3 (307 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Carole New York, NY, United States 06-04-10
    Carole New York, NY, United States 06-04-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "American Pastoral"

    Philip Roth crafts the best sentence of any American novelist. This masterpiece unfolds a plot which continues to unfold and the characterization of the "Swede" and his family is fascinating. There are great details about glovemaking, about the decline of some of the towns in NJ, about marriage and parenthood, even grandparenthood. The story is dynamic and suspenseful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephane Austin, TX, USA 05-28-10
    Stephane Austin, TX, USA 05-28-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Great book poor narration"

    This is a wonderful book and a canonical work of American literature. I was excited to re-read the book this time by listening to it, but the narration by Ron Silver is poor. His diction is lacking, his intonation are not right and his exaggerations take away from the book.

    This book deserves better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Blue Anchor, NJ, United States 04-03-10
    Lee Blue Anchor, NJ, United States 04-03-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why???"

    Hasn't Phillip Roth won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is a genius.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    minwage 12-09-09
    minwage 12-09-09 Listener Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Not as enjoyable as i would have thought"

    I am relatively new to the audiobook world, took some advice from Steven Kings "must read" list and took a chance with this book. The last two recommendations of his were right on target. Since this was #1 on his list i was anticipating some good things from this book. As i read most of the audible reviews for this book (most praising the job of the narrator more than the book) i can definitely agree that Ron Silver does do an amazing job. Getting past that, as far as the book, i found it fragmented and at times boring. The reflections which helped drive the emotional plot at times roamed into useless topics that drove me nuts, no kidding, about 2 hours of this book was devoted to leather glove making! At times im agonizing over his life and family hoping for more and then it would break off into a 30 minute story about Morristown. I guess that is what is meant by pastoral, a very descriptive collection of memories that lead where ever it wants to go, no driving story line or plot. For me, it sounded like a lot of complaining about the world which i can hear from my father without paying for it. I felt like i had sat down with some older Jewish gentlmen at a nursing home and gave each 30 minutes to tell me any story of your past and then stuck them all together in a book. 2 stars for the book, 1 for the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Boston, MA, United States 11-17-09
    Jim Boston, MA, United States 11-17-09 Member Since 2007
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    "interesting psychological study"

    Don't listen to this book if you want a narrative story. This is a true pastoral: a painted portrait of a broken American family. Roth spends huge amounts of time in the mind of the Swede. A brutally beautiful book masterfully performed by Ron Silver.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Blackheath, Australia 07-15-09
    Chris Blackheath, Australia 07-15-09
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    "5 Stars"

    A profound and tragic history of the collapse of a family and a society in the 60's and 70's. Magnificently and beautifully read by the late Ron Silver. This one will keep me thinking for a long time and, I suggest, should not be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Silicon Valley Girl Silicon Valley, CA USA 07-13-09
    Silicon Valley Girl Silicon Valley, CA USA 07-13-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Such a sad story"

    This was my first Philip Roth book. It was slow at first and there were parts that I would have skimmed had I been reading, but it ended up being an excellent and sad story.

    Swede Lavove, someone we all knew in high-school. Mr All American athlete. The one who marries the most beautiful woman and owns a successful business. The man we envied.

    As the story unfolds we learn about his inner anguish and personal demons. We see the sham that ends up being his life.

    An event in his life that forces him to go deep into his soul in order to find some way to make sense of something that cannot be explained.

    Swede's life was not a happy one. Philip Roth gives us insights into his soul turning us into voyeurs as we listen.

    In the meantime, people around him (and even he) prattle on and on about things that are of no consequence such as the intricacies of making gloves or his father's feelings toward Swede, a jew, marrying a Catholic.

    This is the most real and raw book I believe I've ever read. It will stay with me for a very long time.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Palmer, AK, USA 04-20-09
    Edward Palmer, AK, USA 04-20-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Not appropriate for audiblekids"

    It's a fine audio book, but why is it in audiblekids? Is your kid over 17? Then I would let him or her get this audiobook. Not appropriate , I think!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul R Hoffman Baton Rouge, LA, United States 10-14-08
    Paul R Hoffman Baton Rouge, LA, United States 10-14-08 Member Since 2008

    Maryann1951

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    3
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    "Get to the point please"

    I prefer a book with more plot and less details with regard to character development.

    0 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danny New York, NY, United States 11-24-04
    Danny New York, NY, United States 11-24-04 Member Since 2002
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    "Rather dull"

    the first hour or two of this book is dedicated to the philosophic meanderings of the narator of an old man, the book takes a sudden turn into the actual story, but it takes a long time to actually understand much about the main character even though the author is heavy handed with the philosophical underpinings. Several of the characters seem like shallow caracitures. The narrator shows a lot of vocal variety, but by the end it gets a little weary. not sure it was worth the 15 hour investment.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
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