Roslyn, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Roslyn)
Anything by Philip Roth will do. He is far and away the best we have produced in a long time; the Shakespeare of our time. In American Pastoral, the tiny details and the big themes are moving, interesting, illuminating and, sometimes, life changing.
We need more than galoshes in New England at this time as the snow falls by the foot.
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Mark Paul, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Mark Paul)
Philip Roth's masterpiece and an American treasure. It is the story of Seymour Levov, known as "the Swede." He's the son of Jewish immigrants, living a life "right in the American grain"—sports hero, husband to a beauty queen, owner of the family business and a house in New Jersey horse country that drips with colonial history. And then he comes face to face with "the indigenous American berserk." The book combines a loving and deeply realistic portrait of the Newark of Roth's youth with a exploration of the puzzles of self and identity that are Roth's hallmark. A book to be read and savored, and then read again and again.
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shadow8pro, September 11, 2006 (view all comments by shadow8pro)
If you haven't read this book stop everything you're doing and start reading. A masterpiece that will be read and discussed for as long as books are read and discussed. Redefines the great American novel.
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Vintage Books USA -
by Boston Globe,
"Dazzling...a wrenching, compassionate, intelligent novel...gorgeous."
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"At once expansive and painstakingly detailed....The pages of American Pastoral crackle with the electricity and zest of a first-rate mind at work."
by Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times,
"One of Roth's most powerful novels ever...moving, generous and ambitious...a fiercely affecting work of art."
by Publishers Weekly,
"[M]agnificent....This is Roth's most mature novel, powerful and universally resonant....The picture is chilling."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"[E]legiac and affecting....[P]assion seethes through the novel's pages. Some of the best pure writing Roth has done."
by Albert Mobilio, Salon.com,
"American Pastoral successfully shoulders its weighty public theme of American optimism undone by a propensity for the extreme. It also rounds up Roth's usual subjects — Jewish assimilation, bourgeois pretension and the shiksa's fatal allure....Roth's faithful, often piercing apprehension of the jagged emotional transactions between parent and child form this book's true achievement....Sadly though, this is another novel by a marquee author that suffers from intimidated or inactive editors. There are long sections of conversation...that just go on and on. Structurally, the book is poorly shaped. Roth doesn't circle back to the 90-page preamble featuring Zuckerman, the ending feels arbitrary and the gratifying if bracing payoff that American Pastoral vigorously promises throughout is denied. But, if you want a Philip Roth book that isn't just another bulletin from his life, this one is that and more."
by Ralph Lombreglia, The Atlantic Monthly,
"Roth is a masterly prose stylist...and there are many passages of fine language....But these strengths are indulged in a way that becomes the book's weakness. The abstracted treatment of ideas, the weighty, morally serious exposition, result in a novel that holds its material at arm's length from the reader."
by Ted Leventhal, Booklist,
"Pastoral...is well crafted with vivid, crisp prose, but unlike [other Roth novels], it's empty....Once again, no one escapes the misery that personifies modern America."
by Library Journal,
"Roth doesn't tell the whole story blow by blow but gives us the essentials in luminous, overlapping bits. In the end, the book positively resonates with the anguish of a father who has utterly lost his daughter. Highly recommended."
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