American Pastoral, by Phillip Roth
Ok, so it won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. It really is a work of art and it caused a real dialogue between the reader and the author. The prose crafts pictures in the mind’s eye from the factory floor where leather gloves are made, the abandoned building where the Swede Levov barfs on his half – mad homicidal daughter, to a kitchen scene where Swede Levov’s wife, a former beauty queen is almost mixing it up with the architect who she pretends to despise in front of her husband. Swede Levov always got things easy – it was always for him a go along get along world. Then his suburban life unravels into “into a coffin carved out of time that he can never escape”.
I give it the A+ for the art.
The book has no characters one can like. They are all newer, nastier, and more self absorbed asses than Sinclair Lewis’s George F. Babbitt. Not even the narrator, who tells this story as a retrospective, seems to be the least likable.