Next Up: American Pastoral
American Pastoral will be my first experience with a Philip Roth novel.
He’s one of the authors that I’ve always had on my to-read list, but for some reason I’ve just never got around to it.
If you’re like me and a little out of the loop on the novel, here are a few facts.
- Published in 1997, American Pastoral won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize.
- The novel was one of the runners up in the 2006 New York Times Book Review contest: “What Is The Greatest Work of Fiction in the Last 25 Years?”
- As of today, the novel has never been made into a movie, though Paramount bought the film rights in 2006.
- Like many of Roth’s other books, American Pastoral is filled with semi-autobiographical Jewish-American themes.
- Many of Roth’s novels follow one primary character, Nathan Zuckerman.
- Roth is 78 years old and still writing: His most recent novel, Nemisis, was released in 2010.
Richard Lacayo from Time explained the novel this way:
Good-looking, prosperous Swede, who has inherited his father’s glove factory in Newark, N.J., and married a former beauty queen, is not stupid, merely fulfilled. Is it this that gives him insufficient means to comprehend the Newark riots of 1967 or the transformation of his beloved daughter into a venomous teenage radical, a child capable of cold-blooded terrorism? Roth’s own means are more than sufficient. A writer who is unafraid to linger in the minds of furious men, he leads us fearlessly through this man’s grief, bewilderment and rage.
Philip Roth is no Harper Lee. Dude has written A LOT of novels–and not just crappy novels to fill space on your bookshelf.
He’s won more awards for his writing than I have space to list out on this blog post. We’ll just say he’s no stranger to the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and he even won the Man Booker International Prize earlier this year.
I’ve read 30 pages of American Pastoral, and I’m already hooked. It has a similar feel to Rabbit, Run at this point–at least in the sense that the main character is a former high-school athletic star who once “had it all.”
Any insight into this novel?