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)
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.
Great character development
Great exploration of wayward child topic
I don't like the f word and rough language
The reader was smooth and natural
In a novel that is rather like a long fireside saga, a complex, entertaining account of a bittersweet life, told as a sort of flashback by a third party observer, I found a nostalgic period history of a New Jersey Jewish community. I was intrigued and affected emotionally. I very much liked Ron Silver, the actor, and he was perfect as the narrator. Philip Roth is a wordmaster.
Maybe because Silver's of voice and style, obviously authentic, I had to listen closely (couldn't do much else that required concentration, except drive or dust) during the first quarter of the book. In fact, after I finished the book, I listened again to the first 3 hours, just to pick up background details I had missed.
There are so many opportunities to relate, no matter one's generation, but especially for the 50-and-older reader, and so many ah-ha moments, happy and sad, I will be meditating on for awhile. Has anyone ever not wondered what happened to the high school football star and beauty queen, only to find they weren't really very different from the rest of us?
Offering 4 stars for story only to leave room for liking another Roth book better.
The story takes a while to develop and develop and develop. It is however, fascinating. I wonder how much is true.
The narrator was excellent. I remember him as the shrink on The West Wing, so his voice was nicely familiar. I truly think it would have been a boring book to read but it was great to listen to! All the details of glove making otherwise would have put me to sleep. I binge listened and kept telling everyone I could that I might never read a book again, but just listen to them. no way that could happen, but this was my first audiobook and I went a little crazy with it.
Say something about yourself!
An incredible novel that shows America and the 60's from the perspective of a self-proclaimed political liberal who struggles with the implications of his beliefs and actions.
The narration by Ron Silver was possibly perfect. His voice is the voice of the main character; he is from a similar place and time and is able to capture the way the characters most likely sound.
A really great book and reading. It was many things to me - wise, sad, tender, funny, philosophical... It was my first encounter with Philip Roth's work. And what a pleasure! And an exceptional reading performance by the late Ron Silver. I had many excellent moments with Audible. This has been the best so far!!! Thank you!
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