I've been told before that I needed to read Roth, and I may have never gotten around to it... if, again, it wasn't for my Pulitzer Prize endeavor. My only complaint pertains to Nathan Zuckerman as the narrator for the first (I guess) half of the book. I do however appreciate his role as a witness to the Swede's picturesque past and development of Swede's facade.
Roth delivers a picture of America so vivid and lush; the Swede's Norman Rockwell-esque childhood in post-war New Jersey gave the reader hope for our protagonist, filled you with Zuckerman's pride in this All-American couple. The rant's of Roth and his impassioned detail for all of the Swede's and Zuckerman's remembrances made the downward spiral of the Swede's composure that much more tragic.
Spoilers beyond the break! Beware!
I think the discussions of terrorism, violence, and politics in the novel bring up a lot of issues relative to our own times. As far as children who grow to be fundamentalists, and the cultures that raise these children, our generations experiences with the Oklahoma City Bomber, Columbine shooters, and Muslim extremists like the Taliban have incited media debates over blame and responsibility in the familial base, and on a communal scale; but Roth's novel narrates a parent's inward debate as to fault, and left me feeling somewhat guilty for a family like that.
I loved this novel. If you couldn't tell!
American Pastoral, Philip Roth