Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I've never read any Philip Roth before, but I am listening to American Pastoral, read by Ron Silver.

The framing device employed in the book is a 45th high school reunion attended by the narrator, Nathan Zuckerman. There he meets former-classmate Jerry Levov (Seymour "Swede" Levov's younger brother) who describes to him the tragic course of Seymour's adult life. Called "the Swede" because of his anomalous blond hair, blue eyes and Nordic good looks, he is a star athlete in three sports and Zuckerman's idol and hero. "The Swede" eventually takes over his father's glove factory -"Newark Maid"- and marries Dawn Dwyer, an Irish-American Miss New Jersey 1949 winner.

Levov establishes what he believes to be a perfect American life with a beloved family, a satisfying business life, and a beautiful old home in rural, Republican New Jersey. Yet as the Vietnam War and racial unrest wrack the country and destroy inner-city Newark, Seymour's teenage daughter, whose only flaw has been a stutter, becomes angry and fat and increasingly radicalized joining the far left radical organisation 'The Weathermen'. Levov's "pastoral" life implodes in a devastating act of violence that changes everything.

This novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998, and was included in the list of 100 Greatest Novels compiled by Time Magazine in 2005. How many have you read on the list? (I'm at about 26, but some I read so long ago, I barely remember them . . .).

Knitty has published its Spring 2007 issue, and this is the sweater I have my eye on for a spring/summer project . . . . Could it be any cuter with jeans?

6 Comments:

Blogger LA said...

I've read 11 on that list, and then there are 4 I started and never finished.

Yeah, the knitty.com sweater totally rocks.

11:39 PM  
Blogger sage said...

I haven't read it either, but it sounds interesting.

How did your sweaters hold up in Yellowstone?

1:02 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

la - - I was looking for another on the list to download, and found out a friend had I, Claudius in his audible library. Can I make it through 18 hours of a historical novel? Time will tell

(I'm THIS close to buying some yarn to make it . . .)

sage - I am enjoying the book alot, and my sweaters were GREAT in Yellowstone! And popular with my fellow travellers, who clearly lack good taste . . . :-)

1:23 PM  
Blogger EditThis said...

Good book list. I've actually read 12 of those, thanks to being a literature major.

2:13 PM  
Blogger ffleur said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:32 PM  
Blogger ffleur said...

That list is just a tiny bit skewed toward American writers no? There are many books that should have been on it, to name a couple: Anna Karinin (Russian), Candide (French), Pride & Prejudice (British) etc.

Nevertheless I have read 11:
Are you there God? Its me, Margaret
The Great Gatsby
On the Road
The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lolita
Wide Sargasso Sea
The Catcher in the Rye
The Grapes of Wrath
The Lord of the Rings
Animal Farm

I'll keep the list as inspiration. There are many ones listed that I've meant to get to.

4:34 PM  

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