American Pastoral

American Pastoral

Book - 1997
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Here is Philip Roth's masterpiece--an elegy for the American 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 longed-for American pastoral and into the indigenous American berserk. Compulsively readable, propelled by sorrow, rage, and a deep compassion for its characters, American Pastoral gives us Philip Roth at the height of his powers.
Publisher: New York : Houghton Mifflin, c1997.
ISBN: 9780375701429
Characteristics: 423 p.


From the critics

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Jun 03, 2019

American Pastoral is a powerful portrait and indictment of American society in the second half of the 20th century. An honest man who strives to have an all-American family sees the horror of the lives of first his beloved but troubled daughter then his wife come apart at the seams. Finally, he finds that his inclusion in the great American society that he thought was successful was only an illusion.

Jul 23, 2018

NY interview with Phillip Roth Jul 2018

Jun 11, 2018

JUST KEEP READING! I started this novel when Roth was alive and unfortunately finished a week after his passing. Super slow and head-scratching in the beginning, but the last 150 pages you do not want to put the book down. Still easily relative and I enjoyed very much being a Jersey girl (although not from those ports).

ArapahoeJeremiah Mar 28, 2018

One of the best literary novels I've ever read. It certainly deserves its Pulitzer Prize.

Feb 08, 2018

This may be the best American novel ever written. Five stars!

Oct 19, 2017

Not my style, 50 pages in and nothing has happened but having dinner with a friend's brother. Can't even finish it, the descriptions are so long and boring.

Won the Pulitzer prize?? The most boring and redundant book I believe I have ever read. Where were Roth's editors? May have made an okay short story.

Mar 11, 2017

Slow pace - brilliant writing. Philip Roth is one of my favourite authors.

Mar 09, 2017

I had a difficult time even starting this novel, so I gave up too early to "star" rate it fairly. I thought it had a lot to do with the daughter of the protagonist during the Vietnam era, but I got totally bogged down in 1940s characters. I think a better approach would have been to start in the 1960s and then, if necessary, move back a bit to understand the parents of the daughter.

Nov 19, 2016


So after completing a couple dozen books so far this year this book really reminded me there is a huge difference between a good story with good writing, and an absolute masterpiece.

It is a shame reading some other reviews on here giving this book 1 star and saying it is terrible. The idea I or someone would skip over this book because of those reviews is a travesty.

This is an incredibly enriching book, with immense depth, nuance, and lyrical prose bringing to life the tumultuous world of the Vietnam war, the SDS, the Weatherman, the Mets, love, loss, fear, religion, and what it means to be an American.

Read it.

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Jan 28, 2012

RONALD NEWTON thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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