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Goodbye, Columbus : And Five Short Stories (Vintage International) Paperback – January 13, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1974's My Life as A Man Roth examines how a writer revises his reality, compiling two stories "by" one Peter Tarnopol and a third in which Tarnopol is the fictional protagonist. Vintage will simultaneously reissue Goodbye, Columbus , Roth's National Book Award-winning first novel, together in a new edition with five short stories.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
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
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Okay, it was only $7.69 but all of the OCR glitches made it too painful to read any longer after getting almost halfway into the book.
What makes it so wonderful? The quality of the prose is exceptional. It is precise and often poetic without ever using that overly precious tone from which many short story authors suffer. Roth takes careful aim at upwardly mobile Jewish life-- most of the stories in the volume look at least subtly at the internal (identity) clash that arises as Jewish families start integrating into the mainstream middle class. What's nice is that he is unflinching and often critical without ever feeling as though he were being mean. Goodbye Columbus is beautiful and thought provoking, wry but not bitter.
The novella is published together with five short stories, "The Conversion of the Jews", "Defender of the Faith", "Epstein", "You Can't Tell a Man by the Song He Sings", and "Eli, the Fanatic". "The Conversion of the Jews" is generally considered the best of the lot, but personally I was more drawn to "Defender of the Faith". All five stories are worth reading, even if they are not as strong as the title novella.
The novella is well worth the admission price as a tale of young love between two 20-somethings from New Jersey; it blends issues of the heart, class and the sexual mores at mid-20th century and touches on the differences among Jews as well as Jewish *assimilation* in the 50's.
Goodbye, Columbus has all the heart that Portnoy's Complaint lacks. It is the proverbial "coming of age" story of Neil Klugman. Neil is the Philip Roth stand-in - like Roth, he is a poor Jewish boy from Newark. He has his first great love affair with Brenda Patimkin - a rich girl from Short Hills. Brenda is all he could ever want in a woman, so everything should be perfect...right? The reader may guess at the stops along the way, but predictability isn't really the issue - it's the journey that matters.
I found the short stories in this collection less appealing. They are all on the same theme: the aversion Roth feels towards Jewish-American culture, while being a Jewish-American. This is one of the central themes in his novels as well, but his short stories are not able to support this theme as well as the other diversions that make his novels enjoyable. As such, the short stories are one-trick-ponies, and I found them tiring. Perhaps this is the reason that Roth is known as a novelist and not a short-story writer. However, the book is worth purchasing for the novella alone.