When She Was Good

Front Cover
Random House, Dec 23, 2010 - Fiction - 320 pages
49 Reviews

In this mesmerizing, funny, chilling novel. the setting is a small town in the 1940s Midwest, the subject the heart of a wounded and ferociously moralistic young woman.

When she was still a child, Lucy Nelson had her alcoholic failure of a father thrown in jail. Ever since then she has been trying to reform the men around her, even if that ultimately means destroying herself in the process. With his unerring portraits of Lucy and her hapless, childlike husband, Roy, Roth has created an uncompromising work of fictional realism, a vision of provincial American piety, yearning and discontent that is at once pitiless and compassionate.

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Review: When She Was Good

User Review  - Goodreads

This is the only book I've ever encountered by Philip Roth that is not about a Jewish man from New Jersey. Its protagonist is Lucy Nelson, a young Christian (and erstwhile Catholic) woman in the ... Read full review

Review: When She Was Good

User Review  - Goodreads

a very brutal book/story, perhaps because the main character is a female and roth typically writes about males...this is probably also why it reminds me very much of "american pastoral" and the ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

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, previously awarded to John Dos Passos, William Faulkner and Saul Bellow, among others. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has 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’.

Recently Roth received PEN’s two most prestigious prizes: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award ‘for a body of work . . . of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship’ and in 2007 the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to a writer whose ‘scale of achievement over a sustained career . . . places him or her in the highest rank of American literature’. In 2011 Roth won the International Man Booker Prize.

Roth is the only living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America.

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