When She Was Good

When She Was Good

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by Philip Roth
     
 

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In this funny and chilling novel, the setting is a small town in the 1940s Midwest, and the subject is the heart of a wounded and ferociously moralistic young woman, one of those implacable American moralists whose "goodness" is a terrible disease.

When she was still a child, Lucy Nelson had her alcoholic failure of a father thrown in jail. Ever since

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Overview

In this funny and chilling novel, the setting is a small town in the 1940s Midwest, and the subject is the heart of a wounded and ferociously moralistic young woman, one of those implacable American moralists whose "goodness" is a terrible disease.

When she was still a child, Lucy Nelson had her alcoholic failure of a father thrown in jail. Ever since then she has been trying to reform the men around her, even if that ultimately means destroying herself in the process. With his unerring portraits of Lucy and her hapless, childlike husband, Roy, Roth has created an uncompromising work of fictional realism, a vision of provincial American piety, yearning, and discontent that is at once pitiless and compassionate.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"High, careful tragedy, nasty as life, and Roth emerges...as a Dreiser who can write!" —Stanley Elkin

"Roth is a living master." —Harold Bloom, The New York Review of Books

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679759256
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/01/1995
Series:
Vintage International Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
438,556
Product dimensions:
5.18(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.75(d)

Meet 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 awards: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award and in 2007 the PEN/Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction. Roth is the only living American novelist to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America. In 2011 he received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, and was later named the fourth recipient of the Man Booker International Prize.

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Brief Biography

Hometown:
Connecticut
Date of Birth:
March 19, 1933
Place of Birth:
Newark, New Jersey
Education:
B.A. in English, Bucknell University, 1954; M.A. in English, University of Chicago, 1955

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When She Was Good 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Roth at his most mundane and soap-operatic, but entirely spell-binding. I was caught up in the twisting and melodramtic tale of one girl's boundless ability to shun those she needed most, but I also grudgingly admired her near obsessional grip on her morality and strength to change her lot. Roth has been more powerful, more comic, but rarely so moral and sentimental. But, as you will see, morality and sentiment have their price, if one is willing to pay.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago