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The Human Stain


It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town an ageing classics professor, Coleman Silk is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real ruth about Silk would astonish even his most virulent accuser. Coleman Silk has a secret, one which has been kept for fifty years from his wife, his four children, his colleagues, and his friends, including the writer Nathan Zuckerman. It is Zuckerman who stumbles upon Silk's secret and sets out to reconstruct the unknown biography of this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for nearly all his life, and to understand how this ingeniously contrived life came unravelled. And to understand also how Silk's astonishing private history is, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, 'magnificently' interwoven with 'the larger public history of modern America'. Hide synopsis

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Reviews of The Human Stain

Overall customer rating: 4.000

Don't Miss Roth's Best

by sew32608 on May 6, 2010

Personally, I don't care for "Portnoy's Complaint". But I am So glad I didn't let that keep me from reading this book- which strikes me as a true masterpiece. It addresses a variety of issues of modern times- perhaps most notably race, but also others (such as women's issues and the Viet Nam War) . Roth really opened my eyes about some of the challenges that face veterans returning to this country. The characters are as multidimensional as the issues. A great read. Don't miss.


I guess I'm not a fan

by tandd on May 12, 2008

If you like Philip Roth's works then this is a really good one. If you have never read one of his books then this is a good one to start with, so that you know he can write well. As for the story... The book seemed far more a showcase for his ability to write a novel, using all the elements as dutifully taught by various schools of thought, than it was about anything; that he was more interested in toying with form than with readability and plot.

by Adaria on Sep 27, 2007

I had seen the movie on TV and decided to get the book. The movie was well acted and followed the book enough to make a good movie but reading the book was much better. If you can, see the movie and read the book, in that order. Adaria

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