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American Pastoral Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Jul 2006

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Phoenix Audio (1 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597771120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597771122
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 5 x 13.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,305,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians' Prize for "the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003-2004". Recently Roth received PEN's two most prestigious prizes: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award and in 2007 the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction. 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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Review

"Utterly tragic and compelling. It's one of the greatest modern American novels." (Tatler) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A special celebratory edition to mark the 21st birthday of Vintage books. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Totnamscratch on 27 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
American Pastoral is the first and only novel I have read, so far, by this author. At first, attracted initially by the storyline and the award of a Pullitzer Prize, I found it heavy going. I think this was a combination of getting familiar with Roth's style and his attention to detail. However in persevering l was immensely rewarded. This is an epic tale in which the characters are exposed to a huge range of personal triumphs, tragedies and pretty much everything in between. Sucked in, I hoped desperately that the central character's beloved factory, workforce and neighbourhood, his "American Dream", would somehow escape the brutal onslaught of modern economic rationalism, youthful alienation and urban terrorism, but as with those closest to him, these monolithic, heart rendering events brush nurture and nature aside. For all that this is not a book that left me feeling in any way despondent. On the contrary it is packed with every positive human quality imaginable and the belief that whatever may or may not be accomplished the desire to "do the right thing" is paramount. I will certainly read other novels by this author and probably re-visit this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Seymour 'Swede' Levov has it all. A star athlete in his college days, owner of a successful glove-making factory, married to a former Miss New Jersey, and living in the big country house he always dreamed of, he is the embodiment of the 1950s American Dream. And specifically, the immigrant dream - Swede is third generation Jewish-American, each generation having become a little more successful, a little less Jewish, better educated, more assimilated, more American. And why shouldn't that progression continue with the fourth generation, Swede's daughter Merry? Born to every advantage, cosseted and loved, what causes this girl to become involved with the anti-Vietnam War movement and, aged 16, bomb the village store and, in passing, kill a local doctor? This is the question that torments Swede during all the long years that Merry is on the run.

The story is told by Roth's alter-ego, Nathan Zuckerman, who appears in several of his novels. In this one, Zuckerman was at school in Roth's old hunting grounds of Newark with the Swede's younger brother at the time when the Swede was winning glory on the football and baseball fields. To the young Nathan, he was a hero whose sporting skills lifted the morale of the community in the final years of WW2, and who was living proof that success was attainable for anyone from any background in the great meritocracy of the US. It's only after the Swede's death in the present day (late 1990s) that Zuckerman hears the story of Merry and the bombing. So the reader knows from the beginning that the story Zuckerman tells is not in fact 'true', except for the barest of bones, but instead Zuckerman's imagining of it. The struggle to make sense of it all is in fact Zuckerman's rather than the Swede's.
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85 of 95 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for this riveting, quietly horrifying novel that shatters the idyllic illusion of an America that once might have been, but will be no more. American Pastoral is a brilliant commentary on our inability to effectively see beneath the surface of apparent well-being and contentment in others. The first of the "Zuckerman trilogy," (which ends with The Human Stain), American Pastoral recalls and builds on Roth's most accomplished and self-referential fiction of the past.
As the novel opens, Skip Zuckerman, the childless, unattached, first-person narrator of the trilogy has a chance meeting with a boyhood hero at a baseball game. This hero is Swede Levov, an older man who is still, impossibly blonde, blue-eyed and youthful; a legend within his predominantly Jewish neighborhood. Swede is the very embodiment of "America" and all that "being American" stands for. He is, Skip is sure, incapable of living anything but the perfect, and perfectly rewarding, life.
Swede's brother, Jerry, was Skip's best friend, so when Swede asks for a meeting with Skip, Skip is a little puzzled but not all that surprised. Swede, however, doesn't ask anything specific of Skip, but talks of his sons and his memories of Newark before and during World War II. This meeting, though, is pivotal to the novel's central question and its meaning soon becomes crystal clear.
As the novel progresses, Skip attends his high school reunion and, while making note of the various deficiencies shared by the sixtyish men and women in attendance, becomes convinced that no human being ever really knows or understands another. He is depressed by all the conversation about cancer, divorce and the various problems associated with growing older.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
This 1997 novel finds Philip Roth at the height of his powers - as insightful, witty and powerful a dissection of the American Dream as you are likely to find anywhere. Of course, Roth's wordy style is not to everyone's taste, but, for me, is ultimately rewarding as here the author uses his well-established fictional alter-ego, novelist Nathan Zuckerman, to narrate his tale of the fall from grace of Zuckerman's schoolboy friend, 'all American boy (then man)' and all-round sports star, Seymour 'The Swede' Levov, using such verbose metaphors as The Swede's father's (now failing) glove-making business and his 'trophy wife', ex-beauty queen, Dawn's, progressive venture into cattle farming as illustrations of the fundamental, and irreversible, economic and social changes occurring in modern day America (albeit here being predominantly focused on the changes immediately pre- and post-Watergate).

In keeping with one of this author's most distinctive, and impressive, trademarks, Roth once again reveals his narrative through a skilful, retrospective unpeeling (onion-like) as his hero, The Swede, looks back (20 years later) on his once idyllic family existence and tries to make sense of, among other things, his rebellious daughter, Merry's, transition into radical (and violent) politics, his wife's 'cooling' on their seemingly perfect relationship and his father's increasingly archaic social and religious (Jewish) convictions. Throughout, Roth's writing is never less than engaging, switching between the tragic and darkly comic at will, and reminding us (well me, at least) of the author's uncanny ability to construct lengthy expositions, whilst maintaining great simplicity of purpose.

For me, American Pastoral is one of the finest works I have read by Roth, to rank with the likes of Portnoy's Complaint, The Plot Against America, Sabbath's Theatre and Nemesis.
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