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Goodbye, Columbus


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About the Author

In 1997 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.


Following the recent release of Roth's vitriolic novel, I Married a Communist (also produced unabridged from Dove, with Ron Silver reading), it's refreshing to hear his most playful early material revisited. The title novel and accompanying stories are read by a list of top-notch performers. The title story, the coming-of-age tale of Newark's Neil Klugman, is read by John Rubinstein. Set in 1950s America, the idealistic college dropout Klugman spends a summer wooing Brenda Patimkin, an affluent Radcliffe girl from the nearby suburb of Short Hills. Their gentle courtship is disrupted by issues of class, religion and sex. The other stories, which include "The Conversion of the Jews" and "You Can't Tell a Man by the Song He Sings," are read by Rubinstein, Jerry Zaks, Harlan Ellison, Elliott Gould and Theodore Bikel. All do a good job of conveying Roth's sardonic humor, whichÄeven in this younger workÄhas a world-weary, sorrowful weightiness. But the true gift demonstrated here is Roth's amazing deadpan wit, a quality exploited to dramatic ends when read aloud by the adroit veterans employed. (Feb.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

This release by the 1960 National Book Award winner will acquaint listeners with the world of American Jews in the 1950s and to Roths wit and insight into the problems accompanying assimilation. A widely respected American writer, Roth is the author of 22 books, including American Pastoral (Audio Reviews, LJ 10/1/97) and I Married a Communist (Houghton, 1998). Goodbye, Columbus features Neil Klugman, a young man from Newark living with his aunt, and Brenda Patimkin, an archetypal Jewish American Princess, whose summer romance illustrates the tension between old world values and the new suburb-based culture. Provocative and entertaining, the other stories tell of likable characters, mostly men, who embrace their Jewishness yet must face conflicts in family and community. Although written nearly 40 years ago, these stories illustrate truths about America and its relationship with Jews that remain relevant today. The readers, who include actors Theodore Bikel and Elliott Gould, are all excellent, capturing the particular characteristics of Jewish American speech. Highly recommended for all libraries.Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

"A masterpiece." -Newsweek

"Unlike those of us who come howling into the world, blind and bare, Mr. Roth appears with nails, hair, teeth, speaking coherently. He is skilled, witty, energetic and performs like a virtuoso." -Saul Bellow

"Superior, startling, incandescently alive." -The New Yorker

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