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 is beautiul, lyrical, descriptive, and thoughtful; I will remember it forever. Its frequent digressions, flashbacks, and stream-of-thought musings would seem hard to translate to audio, but Ron Silver's narration is so subtle and nuanced and sensitive that I now can't imagine reading this novel without hearing his voice. A narrator who can convey subtle or contradictory emotions beautifully; he seems to really understand the novel's themes and communicates them rather than simply conveying the dialogue. Masterful and wonderful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I prefer a book with more plot and less details with regard to character development.
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