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The Human Stain

by

The Human Stain Cover

ISBN13: 9780375726347
ISBN10: 0375726349
Condition: Standard
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Awards

Winner of the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 aging 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 truth about Silk would have astonished 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 unraveled. 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."

Review:

"Roth almost never fails to surprise....The book continues to unfold layer after layer of meaning....Roth is working here at the peak of his imaginative skills, creating many scenes at once sharply observed and moving..." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"The Human Stain is an astonishing, uneven and often very beautiful book." Lorrie Moore, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[I]mpressively replete and very moving....A marvel of imaginative empathy, generosity, and tact. Roth's late maturity looks more and more like his golden age." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Philip Roth's The Human Stain is the best novel he has written....Here, everything the writer has learnt and experienced within that indefinable form we call the novel...have come to full realization." Nadine Gordimer, The Times Literary Supplement (International Book of the Year Selection)

Review:

"A master novelist's haunting parable about our troubled modern moment." Sam Tanenhaus, The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"The passages get more and more brilliant — so brilliant you can't stand it anymore — and then he goes himself one better....[Roth] is, word for word, paragraph for paragraph, Mozartean, simply unsurpassable." The New York Observer

Review:

"[A] marvelous new novel....In The Human Stain, widely and justly praised, Roth stretches his imaginative sympathies..." Newsweek

Synopsis:

Set in 1998, when ideological divisions are made manifest through public denunciations and rituals of purification, the newest novel by award-winning author Philip Roth concludes his eloquent trilogy of postwar American lives begun in American Pastoral and continued in I Married a Communist.

About the Author

In the 1990s Philip Roth won Americas four major literary

awards in succession: the National Book Critics Circle

Award for Patrimony (1991), the PEN/Faulkner Award for

Operation Shylock (1993), the National Book Award for Sabbaths

Theater (1995), and the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for

American Pastoral (1997). He won the Ambassador Book

Award of the English-Speaking Union for I Married a Communist

(1998); in the same year he received the National

Medal of Arts at the White House. Previously he won the

National Book Critics Circle Award for The Counterlife

(1986) and the National Book Award for his first book,

Goodbye, Columbus (1959). In 2000 he published The Human

Stain, concluding a trilogy that depicts the ideological ethos

of postwar America. For The Human Stain Roth received

his second PEN/Faulkner Award as well as Britains W. H.

Smith Award for the Best Book of the Year. In 2001 he

received the highest award of the American Academy of

Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, given every six

years “for the entire work of the recipient.” In 2005 The

Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians

Award for “the outstanding historical novel on an

American theme for 20032004.” In 2007 Roth received the

PEN/Faulkner Award for Everyman.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Anne R from Maryland, October 10, 2012 (view all comments by Anne R from Maryland)
This was the first Philip Roth book I've read in decades, and I was fascinated and rather awed by how his powers as a novelist have grown. The Human Stain is a much bigger, more ambitious book than Portnoy's Complaint or Goodbye Columbus. Although it's the story of one man, Colman Silk, a New England college professor whose career comes to a humiliating end, it's also about the state of the nation at the close of the 20th century. The characters--Silk's family, his colleagues, his girlfriend, the girlfriend's Vietnam vet ex-husband--all ring true, although some sexism mars his portrayal of Silk's faculty nemesis. I kept reading to find out what happened to everyone as well as to see where Roth was going with his analysis of contemporary America. Now I want to read the first two books in his American Pastoral trilogy.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
ThirdCulture, January 11, 2012 (view all comments by ThirdCulture)
Interesting book, good content, however I found it overall not as captivating as was promised by other reviewers.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
MouseRI, January 5, 2010 (view all comments by MouseRI)
Fantastic.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375726347
Author:
Roth, Philip
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
College teachers
Subject:
Jewish men
Subject:
Passing
Subject:
Newark
Subject:
African American men
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Series Volume:
104-4.
Publication Date:
May 8, 2001
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 5.1 x 0.8 in 0.6 lb

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The Human Stain Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375726347 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Roth almost never fails to surprise....The book continues to unfold layer after layer of meaning....Roth is working here at the peak of his imaginative skills, creating many scenes at once sharply observed and moving..."
"Review" by , "The Human Stain is an astonishing, uneven and often very beautiful book."
"Review" by , "[I]mpressively replete and very moving....A marvel of imaginative empathy, generosity, and tact. Roth's late maturity looks more and more like his golden age."
"Review" by , "Philip Roth's The Human Stain is the best novel he has written....Here, everything the writer has learnt and experienced within that indefinable form we call the novel...have come to full realization."
"Review" by , "A master novelist's haunting parable about our troubled modern moment."
"Review" by , "The passages get more and more brilliant — so brilliant you can't stand it anymore — and then he goes himself one better....[Roth] is, word for word, paragraph for paragraph, Mozartean, simply unsurpassable."
"Review" by , "[A] marvelous new novel....In The Human Stain, widely and justly praised, Roth stretches his imaginative sympathies..."
"Synopsis" by , Set in 1998, when ideological divisions are made manifest through public denunciations and rituals of purification, the newest novel by award-winning author Philip Roth concludes his eloquent trilogy of postwar American lives begun in American Pastoral and continued in I Married a Communist.
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