Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 1998Philip Roth presents a vivid portrait of an innocent man being swept away by a current of conflict and violence in his own backyard - a story that is as much about loving America as it is hating it. Seymour "Swede" Levov, a legendary high school athlete, a devoted family man, a hard worker, and the prosperous heir of his father's Newark glove factory comes of age in thriving, triumphant postwar America. But everything he loves is lost when the country begins to run amok in the turbulent 1960s. Not even a most private, well-intentioned citizen, it seems, gets to sidestep the sweep of history. American Pastoral is the story of a fortunate American's rise and fall ... a strong, confident man, a master of social equilibrium, overwhelmed by the forces of social disorder. For the Swede is not allowed to stay forever blissful living out life in rural Old Rimrock in his 170 year-old stone farmhouse with his pretty wife (his college sweetheart and Miss New Jersey of 1949) and his lively albeit precocious daughter, the apple of his eye ... that is until she grows up to become a revolutionary terrorist.
©1997 Philip Roth (P)1997 by Dove Audio, (P) 2014 by Phoenix Books
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)
It just went on and on and on. At first, I found Roth's handling of the loss of innocence and the death of the American dream moving, but after 70 neurotic chapters I simply couldn't take it any more.
The 1st chapter
Roth's depiction of women verged on sexist. They made me uncomfortable. But maybe that is what he wanted. It is a disturbing book and perhaps better read than listened too.
This is the kind of book that shows just how meaningful an audiobook can be. Silver's performance brings Roth's sometimes dense text, with its long, run-on sentences, into vibrant, ecstatic life. Just an extraordinary experience – I don't think I would've enjoyed the book as much had I read it.
Ron Silver needs to be mentioned first. His narration is astounding. Phillip Roth writes for us the story of us and it is perfectly told. I love this book.
This is a complex, griping story and the performance is outstanding.
Everyone, even the minor characters have a depth that will keep them alive in my memory.
The theme of misunderstanding others is really powerful; I'm not sure I understood the book.
I could not finish this book. Storyline never took hold. Narration dull. I don't which was the most dull, the story or the narration. Don't waste your credit.
Yes - absolutely. Although it was written for those of us who were beginning adulthood in the 60's, it is relevant in today's world. Beautifully written. Like the review posted, it was my first Philip Roth book. I, too, was an English major so appreciate the excellent writing. Intricate and sensitive story telling.
The sensitivity of a modern day writer - Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge).
NO - but I would listen to another by him.
The main character - Swede Levov - someone who seemed so perfect to the outside world, who tried to uphold a high standard of morality but who saw how that wasn't possible or appreciated or that it made much difference in the long run in our world today.
Must have an appreciation of good writing to truly appreciate this book.
This novel captures beautifully the failure of the American dream as it traces the unravelling life of Seymour "Swede" Levov from high school athletic star and all-around good guy to successful business mogul to parent of an anti-Vietnam bomber who blows up the post office in the small town of Old Rim Rock. The characterization of Swede and his doubts is thoughtful and deep. His interior self-questioning amidst his outward show of calm reasonableness emphasizes the inability or failure of reason to account for the actual American experience. Swede's father, Lou, depicts the immigrant working-class, but successful Jewish businessman who is unable to cope with the secularization of society and cannot account for the ways in which his own anti-war views contribute to the militancy of his granddaughter.
Ron Silver did a great job of narrating.
I had not read any Roth before, but I will pick up another.
I love it when I have no idea what's going to happen next.
For some reason I've been putting off reading this book for years. I finally decided to listen to it instead. I am so glad I did. Ron Silver's narration is the best I have ever heard. He captures this story and the characters so well that you forget that you're listening to a book. Often, when professional actors narrate a book, I feel like I can hear them acting, if that makes any sense. But with this book, I was constantly getting so lost in the story. American pastoral is a classic for a reason , but with Ron Silver's narration, it is nearly flawless.
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