Our greatest living novelist gives us two of his greatest novels in his so-called “American Trilogy.” I Married a Communist is a good book by any standard, but American Pastoral and The Human Stain—both of which were singled out by the New York Times as contenders for the best American novel of the last 25 years—are flat-out masterworks. If you’re familiar only with Portnoy’s Complaint (the book that made Roth a superstar), do yourself a favor and pick up the American Trilogy. The eloquence of Roth’s prose and the sagacity of his endlessly fascinating and agile mind are electrifying. Each is a stand-alone novel, so I recommend starting with American Pastoral, then The Human Stain, and finally I Married a Communist.— Brandon
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century—a compulsively readable elegy for America’s promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss, and "one of Roth's most powerful novels ever" (The New York Times).
Here is Philip Roth's masterpiece, featuring Nathan Zuckerman and the story of Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, who grows up in the booming postwar years to marry a former Miss New Jersey, inherit his father's glove factory, and move into a stone house in the idyllic hamlet of Old Rimrock. And then one day in 1968, Swede's beautiful American luck deserts him.
For Swede's adored daughter, Merry, has grown from a loving, quick-witted girl into a sullen, fanatical teenager—a teenager capable of an outlandishly savage act of domestic terrorism. And overnight Swede is wrenched out of the longed-for American pastoral and into the indigenous American berserk. Compulsively readable, propelled by sorrow, rage, and a deep compassion for its characters, American Pastoral gives us Philip Roth at the height of his powers.
About the Author
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 twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He 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.” 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. 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. He died in 2018.
A PARADE BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME
"One of Roth's most powerful novels ever ... moving, generous and ambitious ... a fiercely affecting work of art." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Dazzling ... a wrenching, compassionate, intelligent novel ... gorgeous." —The Boston Globe
"At once expansive and painstakingly detailed.... The pages of American Pastoral crackle with the electricity and zest of a first-rate mind at work." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Never before has Roth written with such clear conviction. Never before has he assembled so many fully formed characters." —Time
"An incandescent fiction.... American Pastoral scintillates with more Rothian wit, paradox, eloquent tantrums and absurd pratfalls placed at the exit of each irresistible argument that can be counted.... He strikes a vivid blaze." —Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Roth has beaten pain and rage into a beautiful shape. American Pastoral is elaborately patterned and layered, ingeniously crafted to contain, even as it amplifies, a cathartic, barbaric yawp." —New York Observer
"Wrenching, skillfully told...a novel not to be missed." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Deeply moving.... Roth achieves a masterpiece...a literary triumph." —Playboy
"A gripping, emotionally charged novel." —People