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American Pastoral | [Philip Roth]

American Pastoral

Philip 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 1998

Philip 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

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 (891 )
5 star
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Overall
4.1 (333 )
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Story
4.3 (340 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mari San Diego, CA, USA 12-15-06
    Mari San Diego, CA, USA 12-15-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    367
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "drones on and on......"

    I could not wait to finish this book. I felt it was way too full of rants and repitition. I can see that the story would be interesting to people, but there was way too much 'droning' and too little of what was interesting and compelling about the story and characters. I thought the narration was very good, however!

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Estil College Corner, OH, USA 10-09-04
    Estil College Corner, OH, USA 10-09-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "A sequel, please, Mr. Roth."

    From the rambling beginning (it starts at the end and then catches up, mostly) to the rather disappointing close, this is a great story, made even more enjoyable by the masterful narrative of Ron Silver. There are a great many questions left unresolved. How did Merry die? Who is Rita Cohen, really? Please, Mr. Roth, I need to know the answers.

    This is a great listen that leaves you wanting more.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Mount Juliet, Tunisia 05-28-08
    Brandon Mount Juliet, Tunisia 05-28-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Great story, but terrible audio production."

    This is a great story, but there were random noise artifacts and each segment was introduced with, "Brought to you by Audible Kids": I seriously doubt that a book with a copious amount of the f-word was produced "by kids, for kids." It's ridiculous that I used my credit on this.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dale Sebastopol, CA, United States 12-28-07
    Dale Sebastopol, CA, United States 12-28-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    12
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    0
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    Overall
    "Boring"

    Philip Roth seems to have lost the art of storytelling and be stuck in some personal rememberance or I don't know what. Maybe someone who likes baseball might be interested.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Martinez, GA, USA 11-08-06
    Lori Martinez, GA, USA 11-08-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "too long"

    He seems to have given out a t the end, with no real conclusion.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah New York, NY, USA 10-31-06
    Deborah New York, NY, USA 10-31-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    30
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    I was very disappointed with this book. I think the story was weak. I had trouble with the narrator as well. He spoke too quickly and I found myself backing up to re-hear many sentences. Mid-way I was somewhat intrigued, but on a whole, I was disappointed. I would not recommend this book.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Constance Houston, TX, USA 07-22-07
    Constance Houston, TX, USA 07-22-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    62
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "American Pastoral"

    Boring boring boring. This books goes nowhere, has no discernible message, is a waste of time.

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deann Lafayette, LA, USA 09-07-08
    Deann Lafayette, LA, USA 09-07-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    1
    Overall
    "So-so"

    Not the most exciting

    0 of 10 people found this review helpful
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