American Pastoral

American Pastoral❰Read❯ ➯ American Pastoral Author Philip Roth – Seymour Levov è alto biondo e atletico Malgrado sia di origine ebraica al liceo lo chiamano lo Svedese Negli anni '50 sposa miss New Jersey avviandosi ad una vita di lavoro nella fabbrica del padre N Seymour Levov è alto biondo e atletico Malgrado sia di origine ebraica al liceo lo chiamano lo Svedese Negli anni ' sposa miss New Jersey avviandosi ad una vita di lavoro nella fabbrica del padre Nella sua splendida villa cresce Merry la figlia cagionevole e balbuziente Finché arriva il giorno in cui le contraddizioni del paese raggiungono la soglia del suo rifugio devastandola La guerra del Vietnam è al culmine Merry sta terminando la scuola e ha l'obiettivo di portare la guerra in casa Letteralmente. I was not a fan It is getting exceedingly rare to find books that are well written and yet hard hitting and surprising at nearly every turn Usually you get just one like the nearly unreadable Infinite Jest that I can still not get through or the other like The Outfit or say Game of Thrones So when my movie producer friend mentioned that his employer Lakeshore Entertainment would be releasing a film version of Roth’s American Pastoral I picked the book up my first by Roth and I was blown away It is no wonder that the book stole the 1997 Pulitzer and was a runner up on the NYT list of best books of the last 25 years from 2006 Side note on that list I agree with the choice of Beloved by Toni Morrison as well as Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and am now curious to read some of the other ones there that I haven’t read by Updike and DeLilloAccording to wikipedia a pastoral is typically about life on a countryside and reuires a cow in the story Some currents of pastoral literature have – in modern times – denounced the urban sprawl of cities and their encroachment into to “pastoral lifestyle” While it is difficult to put Roth into a specific category the fact that the Lvov family owns a large property – and a bull named Count and herd of cows at one point – and the revolt of Merry against not just the idyllic image of America are some ways that the title could be interpreted as being applicable I saw it as an epic look behind the scenes at a seemingly perfect family that is piece by piece revealed to be “reprehensible” as the last sentence of the book states The various façades of 20th C life in American and the uestions that are raised – prosperity but at what cost? global dominance and warfare but for what ideal? are dealt with via the vivid character portraits and their interactions with each otherIf we look at the principal character Seymour “Swede” Lvov from the outside we see a man that was always good at everything – triple letterman in sports beautiful physiue gorgeous ex model wife successful business man But we also learn of his emotional detachment from everything – he has set up an American pastoral idea in his head and is torn apart by Merry’s act of terrorism just as the small store was blown up along with a neighbor The way in which the various facts are revealed and the psychosis of each of the characters in the book was riveting reading I appreciated how we start with a first person narrator who fades away as the Swede is revealed and unraveled by the cascade of events Roth never spoon feeds us details – we need to put up with the screaming Merry and her neurotic mother as well as a slew of other characters to figure out what actually happened and how each character was affected We are as unwitting participants in the devolution of the Lvov family as the characters themselves Even the end of the book is ambiguous – did Rita Cohen really exist at the end or is the Swede losing it? Do we just leave Merry the Jain in that sordid appartment in Newark? Does the Swede evolve into a self realized human being or does he just repress all the anguish to protect his unfaithful wife Dawn and his acrimonious father Lou Lvov as he has always done? The is perhaps the most compelling part of this book you are left to draw your own conclusions To fill in the colors you wish into this particularly explosive American pastoral portraitStill after reading 20 of Roth's books Pastoral stands out as one of my favorites with its evil doppelgänger according to Roth Sabbath's Theater To be read urgentlyI hope although I am fairly confident that Lakeshore Entertainment does it justiceApparently the film was pretty bad so stick with the excellent bookRIP 1933 2018 One of America's literary giants has left us Third reading The book starts off as an homage to a man the narrator Nathan Zuckerman looked up to as a child because of his athletic achievements in local sports Seymour Levov the Swede It also presents itself in the early going as an homage to the so called greatest generation But this opening is deceptive For the closer we come to the Swede and his family the we see his tragic flaws of character Perhaps his most pervasive flaw is to be a nonthinker a man for the most part without a deep intellectual life or any intellectual life who functioned by the many rules and prohibitions set forth by his elders which ill prepared him for a socially volatile futureThe Swede is a Jew but a viking in appearance Blonde fair skinned about as far away from the Der Stürmer parodies then being published in Nazi Germany as it was possible to get The wartime stateside era is one depicted as laden with parental prohibitions but also one of astonishing possibility The Swede is his father's son A young man with his talent could have had a shot at the major leagues but the Swede listens to his old man and learns the glove trade American Pastoral it occurs to me is a ruminative novel It considers matters say the Swede's innocence and then reconsiders them multiple times in light of new evidence or conclusions One is very much in Nathan Zuckerman's head going over and over matters thus his obsessions become our obsessions After several readings it finally occurred to me what Roth's model was for the very detailed glove manufacturing seuences Moby Dick; or The Whale I could find nothing superfluous in the story I live twenty miles from Newark New Jersey I used to work near New York's garment district long after its heydey but nevertheless I was alive though uite young during the late Civil Rights Era This was an insane and very angry time and let me tell you Roth captures its essence beautifully For me on this third reading the book really didn't start to grip until the Swede's daughter Merry's independence sets in and she begins to travel to New York City to stay with her Communist friends Then there's Rita Cohen's absolutely wait here's how Roth puts it What was this whole sick enterprise other than angry infantile egoism thinly disguised as identification with the oppressed This section reminds me very much of the decription Nein Cheng gives of the Red Guards in her Life and Death in Shanghai There are so many beautifully written scenes here The Swede's reunion with Merry who five years later has become a devout Jain will set your hair on fire American Pastoral is a spellbinder An astonishing novel One of the essential books of life I was not a fan A uick perusal of my 'in by about America' shelf will reveal a wide variety of titles ranging from popular fiction by the likes of Stephen King to the brand of post modernist razzmatazz by the wonderfully perplexing Pynchon Yet none of those books seem as American to me as American Pastoral is Forget all the Great American Novels which swoop down on some of the 'Great American Issues' this term is my invention yes like the Great Depression racism slavery brutal and merciless killing of the Native Americans in the US Mexican borderlands Forget the illustrious names like To kill a mockingbird The Grapes of Wrath Beloved The Great Gatsby Blood Meridian and the other works which constitute the edifice of classic American literature Even though every one of them focus either on watershed events in American history or relevant socio cultural issues which form the basis of America's national identity none of them are so glaringly American in spirit as this Philip Roth creation I know my claims of being able to determine the degree of Americanness of any book are uestionable at best since how can the internet and books supplant the experience of actually breathing American air But I'll let Mr Roth speak on my behalf here Around us nothing was lifeless Sacrifice and constraint were overThe Depression had disappeared Everything was in motion The lid was off Americans were to start over again en masse everyone in it together If that wasn't sufficiently inspiring the miraculous con elusion of this towering event the clock of history reset and a whole people's aims limited no longer by the past there was the neighborhood the communal determination that we the children should escape poverty ignorance disease social injury and intimidation escape above all insignificance American Pastoral takes a plunge into the depths of America's heart and soul and analyzes its curious multiculturalism its unrestrained self love and its misdirected self hatred And speaking of 'depths' please bear in mind that it does go really deep probing unmapped territory like the complications at the root of every human relationship be it between husband and wife or between a father and daughter who feel a subtly obsessive nearly incestuous love for each other On one hand it recounts a series of tragic events which result in the slow disintegration of a rich Jewish businessman's inner world while on the other it rapidly moves back and forth between various American issues from the postwar economic boom to the Newark Riots of '67 to the violent anti Vietnam War protests bordering on terrorist activity thereby weaving an intricate network symbolizing the web of America's inner conflicts It's like AP revels in its own Americanness and its unabashed disdain for anything that is considered outside America's sphere of influence But the surprising thing is despite the self absorbed tone of the narrator's voice and his blatant apathy for anything unAmerican none of it sounds remotely offensive On the contrary everything put together it comes off as a mockery of America's self obsession Every sentence every stream of thought every conversation that Roth has painstakingly put together to construct this masterpiece is rife with underlying implications So much so that in order to sueeze out every last drop of meaning from one passage or a long conversation a literature student reading this for coursework may need to pore over one particular page for hours on end This however does not mean it is a difficult read it isn't by a long shot It is simply a book which reuires a tremendous amount of patience and an effort on the reader's part to remove all the layers of obfuscation I have come across people criticizing Roth for portraying Jews in an unflattering light here but I find myself nodding my head in disagreement with them The book smacks of anti heroism if anything and it looks down upon the rich white American's idea of familial bliss material prosperity and his hankering after a sueaky clean reputation free of any incriminating smudges Roth tramples on the idea of hero worship and stomps on it until it is so bent out of shape that it is beyond recognition I also beg to differ on the subject of Roth's widespread infamy among Goodreads intelligentsia as a misogynist Any writer capable of rustling up such fleshed out female characters like the ones depicted here cannot be accused of nurturing a conscious hatred of women Sure there is a sprinkling of barely noticeable sexist remarks but I suspect it is done with the purpose of defining a particular character's perspective rather than simply out of contemptuous indifference or maybe I need to read Roth before pronouncing judgement Some of the scenes of a sexual nature are disturbing to the point of being slightly cringe worthy but none of them demean women as such And it will be hardly fair to indict Roth for sexual vulgarity when women erotica writers of today can be accused of much worse rape and stalker fantasies anyone?To wrap up this is a hard book to review as it obdurately resists deconstruction But it is an ingeniously written one with long drawn out sentences which are a delight to savour if you love your share of linguistic acrobatics Roth rambles a lot and gets side tracked often like an old man suffering from an early onset of dementia frustrating the reader with his abrupt jumps from one subject to another almost in a stream of consciousness like manner and his penchant for detailing something as maddeningly boring as the art of glove making But eventually when he makes his point you can't help but marvel at his ability to accurately deduce the hidden motives at work behind seemingly unremarkable action And as schizophrenic as his writing may seem one can't deny that it is also the work of a true master Everybody who flashed the signs of intelligence he took to be intelligent And so he had failed to see into his daughter failed to see into his wife failed to see into his one and only mistress probably had never even begun to see into himself What was he stripped of all the signs he flashed? People were standing up everywhere shouting This is me This is me Every time you looked at them they stood up and told you who they were and the truth of it was that they had no idea of who or what they were than he had They believed their flashing signs too They ought to be standing up and shouting This isn't me This isn't me They would if they had any decency Then you might know how to proceed through the flashing bullshit of this worldThis excerpt pretty much sums up the book on surface for me This is the story of Swede an obedient son a successful businessman and a devoted family man Things were all going great until his only daughter at the age of 15 plant a bomb in the town post office killing two people Illusion of a perfect family shattered and what followed was an intense search of a father about where did he go wrong in the raising his daughterI wouldn't have read this book had I not pledged to read ten award winners at the start of the year as one of my reading resolution for 2017 I was not expecting much after the disappointment of The Road While The Road had minimal dialogues this was incessant rant of protagonist It was frustrating when Swede tells about a person at different occasions but what makes it engrossing that he present a different picture of same person everytime It tested my limits as a reader but boy how beautifully author has created this maze where I kept wandering walking same path again and again yet feeling that I was exploring this path for the very first time It just left me mesmerisedThis book is brilliant in expressing emotions if a doting father passion of a husband devotion of a son rage of a man who blames himself for what his daughter became pain of a man when he stripped layers after layers of lies in which he believed all his life and helplessness of a husband when his wife went into shock So so many emotions I felt through SwedeThis is a disturbing haunting yet absolutely stunning and fantastic at the same time An amazing read but just make sure that you are ready to give it the attention which this story demands and deservesI am definitely reading this after few years 1998 Pulitzer Prize Time Magazines 100 best novelsI read my fair share of books and most of those are classics so usually as a whole they are highly rated highly regarded books But even with that occasionally a book comes along that raises it's head above the rest This is one of those books for me It's difficult to explain this book to others even difficult to completely understand myself because it doesn't flow in a straight line like most books non linear I think they call it But I can say this it makes an impression it's impactful thought provoking and yes even depressing Roth like a fine surgeon lays open the heart and soul of an American family and it is writing and story telling at it's bestRIP Philip Roth May 23 2018 This is Roth's masterpiece in case you want to read one or two of his books now that he is gone Apparently Philip Roth was a difficult man He had a reputation by his own admission as a cad a bounder profligate Reputation which doesn't mean it is true though it may be His ex wife the actress Claire Bloom with whom he lived for something like 18 years castigates him in a memoir that makes him look almost psychotically ruthless I seem to recall from reviews never read the book heard it was awful and made HER look even difficult than him I read his early works such as Portnoy's Complaint and reread it recently and Goodbye Columbus in the earlymid seventies and loved them Thought they were hilarious in my late teens and early twenties He writes about himself in books such as My Life as a Man as not entirely admirable with respect to women I didn't read anything by him again until fairly recently when I read his memoir of his relationship to his dying father Patrimony and the two of them are not nice guys not easy but there's a kind of rendition of depth and love between them so that you get to see why it is one might want to hang around with Roth Both are arrogant brutal to each other in some ways and yet they love each other And why read about such people? Because Roth is an amazing writer he creates wonderful sentences and is not a bullshitter He's ruthlessly truthful it seems to me Roth is known for writing autobiographical fiction Is this actually true that he actually is writing about himself? I don't know This is part of the central conceit of most of his writing that his narrators are Roth or some version of Roth His narrator Nathan Zuckerman in Pastoral is a writer not a nice man a womanizer The endlessly debated uestion is the extent to which Zuckerman is Roth And many Goodreads readers hate his novels because they see Zuckerman as Roth and both we suspect may be assholes My take on this is that Zuckerman is not Roth and in this book that is important and makes it all the brilliant The book begins with Zuckerman going to his 45th high school reunion and meeting a fellow asshole Jerry Levov whose brother Nathan looked up to Seymour Levov The Swede who was a star athlete with blond hair and blue eyes not typically Jewish looking as are almost all the Jews of his high school Swede married a goyish Miss New Jersey and took over his father's Newark glove making factory Zuckerman admires Swede his high school hero but finds that the perfect northeastern Jew turned American Dream had a daughter Merry who was not so merry who at 16 had joined an organization much like Weatherman an initially violent offshoot of the SDS and she bombs a local post office killing a local physician goes underground The first section of the novel Paradise Remembered is Zuckerman recalling how great high school was and how great the Greatest Generation the forties and fifties were Amazing back patting section about the Jews of the idyllic American Dream hamlet of suburban Old Rimrock outside Newark with pretty wealthy business owners and intellectuals and doctors and so on They made it whoopee Only one cautionary consideration Zuckerman admits that being human being a writer is getting it wrong about human nature but then tells us a story of the Swede and his messed up life Swede maintained high standards in the production of gloves and a kind of order in the face of the sixties and Nam and the American berserk when people went crazy politically and spiritually Well as to that getting it wrong the Second section of the novel is The Fall and the third is Paradise Lost so you know where this is heading Away from Nirvana right We aren't going to Woodstock no Things are not what they seem and we get confirmed all that we already know about happy rich people who have coveted greener grassI was initially uncomfortable with some of Zuckerman's early nostalgia though I know it is a set up for what comes later and even so with the radical bashing by Nathan our narrator that happens as Seymour trashes the lifestyle of his daughter Merry And lefties like me I count former Weatherman Bill Ayers as a friend and colleague and attended SDS meetings in Ann Arbor in the sixties when I was myself 16 hate the superficial rejection of all youthful sixties radicalism that goes on to this day But my point is that this is Zuckerman not Roth and this is Zuckerman's blind love for the Swede and his hatred of his radical murderer daughter not necessarily Roth's I do know that liberal peaceniks like me parted ways with Weathermen and other sixties counter cultural groups when they began resorting to any mean necessary such as violenceBut this is Zuckerman a nostalgic romantic writing his pieced together fiction of The Swede and we know it is a fiction It is a tale of rage and bewilderment and loss of the American Dream one we can all mourn in our own ways And it is romanticized but it also has some breathlessly beautiful passages much of it amazing dialogue sometimes in talk between Merry and Swede sometimes speeches from grandpa patriarch Lou sometimes fights between Jerry and Swede and it is overall terrific writing just wonderful Some of the detailed descriptions of the careful craftsmanship of glove making are like an elegy to a time when such attention to detail and uality of work by hand was widespread a elemental time maybeThis book is in part about the shift from the protected optimistic post war period and the twenty five year shift to Hell that took us into the mid seventies It's a father son story it's a father daughter story It's a story of one Jewish version of the American Dream and assimilation It's the story of the decline of cities like Newark destroyed by racism and race riots and white flight and the abandonment of industry It's about the myth of the American Pastoral dream escape from the urban to the rural all those lovely flowers and trees as no real escape from reality The male characters filled with rage and despair are a little like Lear raging at loss and decline and they take center stage here but the women portraits are also fully realized and impressive In the ending sentences we are led to doubt Zuckerman's point of view his romanticizing and his bitterness We are led to go back to his initial views about whether we can actually know other people as writers as people Maybe this is Roth's realization that we can only get it wrong as we try to understand identity and culture We are essentially unknowable Origins are not fully explanatory We are mysteries unto ourselvesThere's not much of Roth's trademark humor here except in the story of the creation of a fur coat by high school soph Jerry for a prospective girlfriend which is hilarious This is Roth's masterpiece taking seriously the art of fiction as it attempts to grapple with American landscapes Impressive accomplishment And as to Roth vs Zuckerman as with other people you don't seem to like based on biographies and People magazine set Roth aside and read Zuckerman; this is a work of fiction And a damned good one like the people in it or not Liking is not really the issue with fiction is it? These characters are fascinating admirable infuriating annoying heart breaking American Pastoral by Philip Roth is a 1997 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publication This book doesn’t need much of an analysis from me especially since so many have voiced such elouent and poignant reviews of ‘one of the best novels ever written’ and have broken it down and analyzed it in great ualified detail However I did have a few random thoughts about the book The book is not upbeat not once not ever It’s moody sad and weighted down with the heaviness of yearning regret and disillusionment ‘What the hell is wrong with doing things right?”The novel simmers with anger directed in any number of ways for any number of reasons at any number of situations and people but is also a well of deeply rooted retrospection and even fervor The novel moves slowly and I will confess it took two long wait periods from my library to complete it But it was still a hypnotic novel chock of full of allegory and is considered a true American classic by many I don’t know how I would have felt about this book if I had read it years ago but now I think I ‘get’ it and understand why it resonates with some people but I can also understand why others were left unimpressed There is a letdown of sorts as the book concludes which left me feeling slightly depressed but the book did give me much to consider This is not my first dance with Roth and it won’t be my last but it wasn't a favorite nor do I think it lives up to the Pulitzer hype but it was worth the extra time and effort I went through to read it However I think I am ready to return to my regularly scheduled programming for a while 35 stars My awareness of this book came from my wife and some of her friends from college It was legendary as the single most awful experience during their first four years of higher education You would think that would keep me away But after several years of putting it off I finally said CHALLENGE ACCEPTEDIt was not the worst book I have ever read It was not the greatest book I have ever read I have seen some people sing it's praises as vehemently as the loathing my wife and her friends felt for it I can easily see both sides of this response I would say 3 to 35 starsIt was definitely one of the most melodramatic stories I have ever read Every scene and every discussion was amped up to the next level Part of that led to super descriptive prose The best way I can describe it is that it is the literary euivalent of a hyper realistic painting Click here for a hyper realistic painting of Homer Simpson to see what I meanI did find the book interesting overall It is basically the story of a seemingly perfect life going out of control in mid 1900s America because of social expectations religion war politics and family At times it was a bit repetitive and drug on a bit For me I think it would have had the same impact if it was trimmed and toned downI can recommend this to you if you want to cover the classics For example I belong to a reading list completist book club and this book appears on several lists If you like historical fiction then I think there is a chance you will like it But if you are not in the mood for something lengthy wordy and intense this really isn't the book for you

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  • Paperback
  • 458 pages
  • American Pastoral
  • Philip Roth
  • Italian
  • 22 January 2015
  • 9788806174118