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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
13
Goodbye, Columbus
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on 2 October 2014
Enjoyed the short story format and Roth's amusng.readable style (and Jewish angst!).
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on 30 January 2015
Not excellent, but good. After all, it is a Roth..
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on 22 May 2016
Great read
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on 30 May 2016
Loved the book.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 15 November 2017
Sorry for that dreadful pun, couldn't resist it, though these could indeed be said to be the first grapes of Roth, plucked in 1959, when he was 25, consisting of one novella and five short stories.
The title story is a precociously mature, remarkably realistic tale of young love between the twenty-something narrator and a girl a little younger, both Jewish, both intelligent and with all life before them. Unsurprisingly, true love doesn't exactly run smooth. It's a tale richly told, in that way Roth almost uniquely developed, and which I have never quite been able to put my finger on. As with the plays of his friend Arthur Miller or the novels of his elder fellow writer Saul Bellow, somehow life is unravelled in all its abundance, its nuances, and in all its glorious messiness. Roth really could write, right from the off.
The other five pieces are a wonderful bonus, with Defender of the Faith a standout: a pained and bittersweet tale of army life at a Missouri barracks, with the Jewish narrator Nathan Marx trying, and often failing, to deal with an opportunistic soldier under his immediate command, one Grossbart, who will use any means to get his way . . . the ending is uncompromising, unexpected, and ineffably sad. It's all told brilliantly by Roth, in a feat of storytelling that had me totally hooked.
It's an ongoing travesty of justice that Roth never won a Nobel Prize {it's probably too late now} since few American novelists have been so consistently, prodigiously astonishing over a career of fifty years or so, starting with this collection of six stories giving early notice of a new genius on the block.
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on 26 September 2014
Peculiar style of writing and an even odder storyline. very modern I suppose for the time it was written
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on 5 June 2016
A very interersting book. I have just started reading this book, but so far I am enjoying it. Poor librarian meets and falls in love with spoilt, rich sociolite etc
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on 19 February 2002
I know the description above probably might seem a little cliched, and the stuff of paperback reviews, but I really did find the stories excellent, particularly 'Goodbye Columbus'. The only problem I could see was that some aspects of its sexual politics might need to be explained to people who didn't grow up in 1940s and '50s America... Nevertheless, the story's sharpness and originality have stood the test of time and it still carries a real sting, and some psychological truths, over 40 years later.
The other stories are also insightful and engrossing and well worth reading.
I'd recommend the book to anyone.
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on 10 June 2012
I've just discovered Philip Roth and I think I've found my kind of author. Besides the fact that all stories in this book focus on the Jewish customs and way of living (something I found tedious), Roth approaches life and all of its hidden aspects with such brilliance. I found myself smiling at his genius in the precision of words he used to describe the narrator's feelings and secret thoughts. He really gets you into the protagonist's head and helps you relate to him/her. Great writer!
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on 4 November 1998
a very interesting debate about love of social classes
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