Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $4.41 (26%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Letting Go has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very Good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Letting Go Paperback – September 2, 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

See all 34 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.54
$8.44 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
$12.54 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Letting Go
  • +
  • When She Was Good
  • +
  • Goodbye, Columbus : And Five Short Stories (Vintage International)
Total price: $34.52
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A first novel of awesome maturity." —James Atlas

"A rich book, full of incident, wry and sad and even in its most desolating scene somehow amusing." —Elizabeth Hardwick, Harper's

"[Roth] has the finest eye for the details of American life since Sinclair Lewis." —Stanley Edgar Hyman

From the Inside Flap

Letting Go is Roth's first full-length novel, published just after Goodbye, Columbus, when he was twenty-nine. Set in 1950s Chicago, New York, and Iowa city, Letting Go presents as brilliant a fictional portrait as we have of a mid-century America defined by social and ethical constraints and by moral compulsions conspicuously different from those of today.
Newly discharged from the Korean War army, reeling from his mother's recent death, freed from old attachments and hungrily seeking others, Gabe Wallach is drawn to Paul Herz, a fellow graduate student in literature, and to Libby, Paul's moody, intense wife. Gabe's desire to be connected to the ordered "world of feeling" that he finds in books is first tested vicariously by the anarchy of the Herzes' struggles with responsible adulthood and then by his own eager love affairs. Driven by the desire to live seriously and act generously, Gabe meets an impassable test in the person of Martha Reganhart, a spirited, outspoken, divorced mother of two, a formidable woman who, according to critic James Atlas, is masterfully portrayed with "depth and resonance."
The complex liason between Gabe and Martha and Gabe's moral enthusiasm for the trials of others are at the heart of this tragically comic work.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International
  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (September 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679764178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679764175
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Three-and-a-half stars. As much as I dislike some of what Roth has written, I can't deny that he's one of the greats in American literature. "Letting Go" reads as you might expect Roth's first novel to read--that is, it's ambitious, outrageous, and (most of the time) brutally honest. Themes that Roth would go on to expand upon later (Jewish identity, the problems of sex and love and marriage, the desire to find meaning in great works of literature) are evident here in spades. But it also reads like a *first* novel--meaning, Roth was still finding his footing and not without a few fumbles.

The book is ambitious, no question--too ambitious, I think. It's as though Roth is trying to consolidate the entire human condition into one novel, which though admirable, is impossible to do. He's grappling with mature themes and questions, but the result is one of dilution. He paints his characters and issues in broad strokes; no particular theme or question gets its full due, despite the book's staggering length. Roth clearly learned his lesson with "Letting Go"--his subsequent novels were much more pointed and concise.

Other drawbacks: the male characters, as is typical of most Roth novels, are drawn far more convincingly than the females, who are too often portrayed as screeching, manic-depressive nags; Roth wanders too often from his narrative course (which accounts for the 630 pages)--for example, the shocking event that transpires in Part 5 is a blatant plot device that screams of insecurity on Roth's part and does nothing to shed light on his characters; and the overall dreariness of the characters and their nihilistic views of life often inspires, not empathy, but eye-rolling.
Read more ›
Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on July 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
Don't listen to the negative reviews. I read this book 3 times, the first at age 16. I am now 53. It is my favorite of Roth's work. The fact that he wrote it at age 29 makes it even more remarkable. Make up your own mind.
4 Comments 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This vast novel of urban Jewish academic life in the mid-1950s (first published in 1961) is a dark, brooding meditation on birth, death, family, and the inescapable angst of life. Our "hero" Gabe Wallach and Paul and Libby Herz, the married couple his life is entwined with, are at first graduate students in literature in Iowa and then young faculty members at the University of Chicago. Gabe reluctantly and bafflingly becomes more and more involved in the depressing and difficult lives of Paul and Libby. In many ways this is an existentialist novel and reflects the basic ideas of existentialism, which was so popular in the 1950s. Gabe, and the others, are constantly faced with choices, some trivial seeming, others momentous, and must confront their freedom and their inability to ground their choices or even understand their choices.

Among the momentous choices are Gabe's and Paul's rejection of traditional Jewish religion and life. This is a novel of secular Jewish life and its compromises and difficulties. Gabe's mother has just died, and he is drifting away from his New York dentist father. Paul is Jewish, from Brooklyn, but Libby is a Catholic who converts to Judaism. They met and loved as students at Cornell. Both Paul and Libby are shunned by their families, which leads to tragic consequences.

Gabe and his friends are just beginning to explore the leading edges of the Sexual Revolution and are struggling with issues that today seem rather obsolete. Nevertheless these first glimmerings of women's liberation and sexual freedom caused all sorts of turmoil for those in the avant guard. Roth captures the angst, fear, depression, and exhilaration of those exploratory days.
Read more ›
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Your favorite book isn't necessarily the greatest book you've ever read: it's just the one that speaks most directly and resonately for you. This is my all-time favotite, and I've read all of Roth. I love the characters, the structure, even the typeface and lay-out design. I first read this book in its old orange mass-market paperback edition way back in the late 80s, in celebration of my leaving graduate school in order to go write my first novel--a novel, I'll go ahead and admit, influenced sharply by "Goodbye, Columbus," which I had also recently read and adored--and for the next couple of years, as I toiled away at that novel, I kept picking up my beat-up copy of "Letting Go" and reading it at random, the way people used to read the Bible: I'd stroke the binding, smell the paper, re-read the notes I scribbled in the inside of the jacket. Later, when I was too poor to do so, I shelled out $65 for a mint-condition first edition of the Random House hardcover edition, complete with a flawless book jacket. After my kids and my wife, that's what I'm grabbing when my house catches on fire. I revere Roth as much as I want to argue with him--he's not the greatest confrontational writer of our time for nothing--and yet this one I remove from that great corpus and insert directly into the fabric of my own life.
Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Letting Go
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Letting Go

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: classics literature