Customer Reviews for

American Pastoral

Average Rating 4
( 66 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Worthy of the Pulitzer

American Pastoral is the background for one seemingly idyllic family in post-war and Vietnam-era America. The story intertwines the love story of an All-American high school football star Swede Levov and a ravishing, determined former Miss New Jersey Dawn Dwyer. Toget...
American Pastoral is the background for one seemingly idyllic family in post-war and Vietnam-era America. The story intertwines the love story of an All-American high school football star Swede Levov and a ravishing, determined former Miss New Jersey Dawn Dwyer. Together they weave the perfect romance, buying a country home in rural, Revolutionary-era New Jersey, fusing religious differences between their families, and raising a child who seems to be the culmination of the construction of an insurmountable family fortress. But from the novel's opening in present day, misconception runs rampant throughout the storyline. The novel's shifting narrator initially encounters the older Swede Levov, and quickly compiles in his mind what must be this successful businessman's and laudable family man's history, only to find the exact opposite. Amid the turbulent sixties, it seems the rearing of the Levov's daughter, Merry, has gone amiss, not by any doing of their own, but from external intangibilities. At the age of 16, Merry systematically blows up the local market, killing one prominent resident and sending her own family into turmoil. She flees, and it seems that the Levovs cannot combat the grief and despair which is the fallout not only of their daughter's alienation and abandon, but also (later) of her being adament to blame her seemingly ideal and serene upbringing as the catalyst for her rebellion. Philip Roth brings into question both sides of this argument: the utter irrationality of Merry's actions, and Swede Levov's vain attempt to reason and pinpoint his daughter's deviance. The alteration in the narrative between flashback times of peace, a congenial family, his utter devotion to his wife...and current ones of despair, psychologically estranged friends, and a static lifestyle, seem to tear Swede Levov in two. The novel explores our desires for the ordered life and its consequences, the validity of trying to maintain such a lifestyle in spite of unassailable corruption, and the worth of the trust we place in our friends, family, and selves. In many ways, the novel is a progression distrust (nearly incorrect and inoperable paranoia), where irrevocably, every relationship and institution in which Swede Levov has found consolation is challenged, if not wholly destroyed. By the end of Roth's sweeping and panoramic achievement, we get a sense that it is the Levovs ideal life at fault...their want to uphold the American dream, to love each other, protect each other from harm, live a life merely amongst themselves, on the surface, not ignorant of the world, but content with themselves. At its core, American Pastoral questions the very epitomy of existence and contentment which we idealize, and its flawed impregnability. There is nothing much more tragic than the exact opposite outcome of what a life of protective diligence has attempted to immortalize, yet that is the subject matter of this novel. A tremendous work.

posted by Anonymous on June 12, 2006

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

I was so disappointed

I have been a Philip Roth fan all of my life. Since Portnoy's Complaint, When She Was Good, Goodbye Columbus... this book is absolutely nowhere near it. The first 80 or so pages are downright boring; the narrative is OK and shows experience in writing, but the character...
I have been a Philip Roth fan all of my life. Since Portnoy's Complaint, When She Was Good, Goodbye Columbus... this book is absolutely nowhere near it. The first 80 or so pages are downright boring; the narrative is OK and shows experience in writing, but the characters are oddly disengaging and, frankly, I don't feel anything for the Swede, Jerry, Merry or any of the cast of characters. Nothing. Like a blank. Or an empty space. I truly would not recommend it.

posted by marc-medios on July 15, 2011

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 7 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 1999

    so tedious!

    Philip Roth's plot drowned in a pool of words. Hard to follow, at times a trifle boring. Wade through it if you can.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1