American Pastoral

Anyone who likes writing should read American Pastoral, by Philip Roth. The book tells the story of Seymour Levov, the guy every man would like to be, the lad every girl would like to marry, the perfect son, husband, father.
Seymour, known as the Swede, strives to embody this perfection, despite wars, despite racial riots, despite all the contradictions America carries on its shoulders, revealing how frail perfection is, and how our success or failure, as professionals, partners, parents, is left to fate, chance and events. All that glitters is not gold, and the Swede becomes victim of his own perfection facing an unbearable tragedy, trying to put together his family’s pieces, giving in, finally, helplessly beholding that everything he despises triumphs: “He kept peering in from outside at his own life…..One day life started laughing at him and it never let up.”
When the novel comes to an end, Roth describes an apparently perfect family and friends dinner, that is in fact a metaphor of life’s contradictions, every guest embodies one of life’s dark sides and Seymour cannot but surrender and acknowledge that paradise is lost.
Let alone the plot, the reader is continually bewildered by perfect sentences, great adjective choice, phrases played, rather than written, such is the musical vibe they convey.
Let us sing then or play or act, or simply be spectators.

4 Mi piace

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