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American Pastoral


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A terrorist bombing in a quiet rural community is the focal point of this novel. Protagonist "Swede" Levov is living the American dream. After growing up in Newark, New Jersey, during the post-World War II era, he takes over the glove business started by his grandfather, marries the "all-American" girl, has a daughter, and lives in a big country house. But the dream is shattered when his daughter becomes a terrorist during the Vietnam War years. Roth takes the family from the orderly postwar years, through the turmoil of the 1960s, through to the present. He evokes nostalgia for the "good old days," but makes his characters take more realistic views as they mature. Not to be listened to in a hurry, this novel requires reflection. Reader Ron Silver expresses a wide range of emotions and moods in his narration and characterizations. Recommended for adult fiction collections.‘Catherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Lib., Northfield, Vt.

"Roth has chronicled the rise and fall of one man's fortunes and in doing so created a resonant parable of American innocence and disillusion . . . A fiercely affecting work of art." -- Michiko Kakutani
"Dazzling...a wrenching, compassionate, intelligent novel...gorgeous."
"Roth's canvas is at once expansive and painstakingly detailed...The pages of American Pastoral crackle with the electricity and zest of a first-rate mind at work."

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