Mixed feelings about the novel, I'm not even sure I can put two words together. At times I loved it to pieces, at times I hated its guts. And it makes me angry every time I read a publisher's review / recommendation which says "this is one of the greatest novels of American Literature". Seriously, is this the best thing you can come up with? Not that I am any better, but they're supposed to be able to recommend the book with more than that.
I couldn't help comparing Swede Levov with Miles Roby in Richard Russo's Empire Falls. Both book plots focus on them as central characters, both of them are kind of strong, pursuing (or focusing on, at least!) their good ol' American Dream, providing for a daughter, and being caught up in some tragedy of relatively big proportions. And I loved both characters in different ways, though I felt Miles to be more human, probably because, unlike Swede, he didn't do so well in life, he didn't aspire to perfection on every level.
Of course I wanted Roth to focus more on Merry's aftermath situation, the episode of Swede visiting her was probably the best - at least for me - but I got that she was probably just the means to get to Levov's inner struggles.
Well, I guess the book is good (maybe for others a masterpiece or something like that - I couldn't relate too much to it), it must have won the Pulitzer for some reason, but God, was it long!