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)
Issues we all deal with, not on a grand scale as bombings or murder, but of finding ourselves and getting to know the true people that we love and ultimately surround us.
I have listened to this book three times. It gets better every listen thanks to the mastery of Ron Silver. You almost forget it's a book -- it just feels like you're hearing a living breathing consciousness.
Garrison Keillor is right: lasts year's Nobel for literature should have gone to an American and his initials at PR.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
The mythology of human perfection is exposed in American Pastoral. Its author, Phillip Roth, is awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. American Pastoral is included in Time’s “All-time 100 Greatest novels”. Ron Silver’s narration perfectly captures Roth’s All American hero, Seymour “Swede” Levov.
For every family that has children, American Pastoral, reveals how much and how little parents can do for their children. Human beings are imperfect; children grow into their own space; they grow in concert with genetics, how they think of themselves, and how others think of them.
American Pastoral suggests Americans dream, plan, and do. But life is a muddle, a combination of plans, luck, fortune, and favor. Being as good as you can be is not enough for society. Human perfection is a myth. In American Pastoral, Roth writes a great story; Silver brings it to life.
Ron Silver is the perfect narrator. He brings a cadence to the speech that I would not have heard in my own head if I read it myself. His narration added a depth to the story for sure.
Not what I expected but an excellent story. It certainly grabbed my attention and kept me interested. Top notch narration. I certainly recommend this story to anyone looking for something different and absolutely thought provoking.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
There is a lot to like about this book. The story is absorbing and about the 60's with the Vietnam War, Watergate, Deep Throat (the movie) and the Weather Underground thrown into the mix. These are all things I grew up with and remember very clearly. It did when the Pulitzer prize.
The story revolves around a High School hero and his Beauty Queen wife who have a daughter that becomes a terrorist. Why do good people have children that are criminals? Is anyone truly good or evil?
The narrator is excellent and keeps the story moving. He especially does wonderful Jewish guys from New Jersey.
What didn't I like about the book? Some times it seemed to repeat over and over the same theme. I also didn't think it was realistic on the way people think. Maybe that is just a difference in the sexes, though, I certainly could be wrong.
Overall I enjoyed the book and will probably listen to more of Philip Roth's books.
Yes I would recommend it, it is a classic of American literature made even more wrenching and poignant by the narrator.
He renders Meredith's lines just as she would have spoken them.
Yes, but then I wouldn't have had it to listen to for a second and third sitting.
Excellent book with an great reader. I found the musical interludes distracting. If you have to squeeze them in to signify some kind of break, ok, but fade them out before the reading starts back up.
I am a college professor and professional actor, director and playwright. The peformance of the book is as important to me as the writing.
I am not sure why I missed Philip Roth who is no secret to most readers, but I did. He probably became really popular during the years when I was either not reading very much because I was too young to appreciate it, or the years when I was raising a son. However, I recently saw a special on him on PBS and it peeked my interest andI decided to give him a listen, choosing this book because of its subject matter. I am so glad that I did. This novel is world class and will likely stand as one of the great novels of the century. Roth's ability to craft a story that resonates off the page and into the hearts, minds and soul of America is a mark of his true genius. Ron Silver as the narrator is probably the finest vocal work I have heard on audio book- ever. Mr. Silver has an intimate delivery style and plays with pacing and emotional tone to superb effect. I will listen to this book again and again. There were moments that literally took my breath away. And even though I finished it months ago, I find myself thinking about the story over and over again. So glad I have found Philip Roth and I thank Ron Silver for his fine work.
Although a little slow to start, this is one of the most compelling novels I have ever listened to. Well deserving of the Pulitzer Prize.
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