American Pastoral

By Philip Roth
Binding:Paperback
Publisher:Vintage, (2/3/1998)
Language:English



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As the American century draws to an uneasy close, Philip Roth gives us a novel of unqualified greatness that is an elegy for all our century's promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss. Roth's protagonist is Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, who grows up in the booming postwar years to marry a former Miss New Jersey, inherit his father's glove factory, and move into a stone house in the idyllic hamlet of Old Rimrock. And then one day in 1968, Swede's beautiful American luck deserts him.

For Swede's adored daughter, Merry, has grown from a loving, quick-witted girl into a sullen, fanatical teenager—a teenager capable of an outlandishly savage act of political terrorism. And overnight Swede is wrenched out of the longer-for American pastoral and into the indigenous American berserk. Compulsively readable, propelled by sorrow, rage, and a deep compassion for its characters, this is Roth's masterpiece.
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SkinnyLinny's thoughts on "American Pastoral"
updated on:9/10/2013

Lively discussion by our club.  May universal themes, and compared it to F. Scott Fitzgeralds Tender is the Night.  Roth touches on many sore memories of the turbulent sixties, and the seeming perfection of the American Dream in the fifties.  It really is a burden to be marked as beautiful and gifted by our society, as was the case for the swede and his wife.

DEFINITELY Unleash it


"American Pastoral"
By Philip Roth

Average Rating:
DEFINITELY Unleash it
5.00 out of 5 (1 Clubie's ratings)


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In 1997, Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, previously awarded to John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Saul Bellow, among others. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. Recently Roth received PEN's two most prestigious prizes: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award for "a body of work.of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship" and in 2007 the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for achievement in American Fiction, given to a writer whose "scale of achievement over a sustained career.places him or her in the highest rank of American literature." Roth is the only living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America.


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