Synopses & Reviews
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."
"Mr. Roth does a beautifully nuanced job...by turns, unnerving, hilarious and sad."
"With…THE HUMAN STAIN, Philip Roth, the great autobiographer, has transformed himself into Philip Roth, the great social novelist."
"At 67, Roth has not lost one ampere of his power to rile and surprise."
"THE HUMAN STAIN exposes the stress that… race and ethnicity, economics, puritanism and paranoia…have placed on the American Dream."
About the Author
Philip Roth retired from teaching as a Distinguished Professor of Literature at Hunter College in 1992 after many years of teaching comparative literature -- mostly at the University of Pennsylvania. Until 1989, he was General Editor of the Penguin book series "Writers from the Other Europe," which he inaugurated in 1974 and which introduced the work of Bruno Schulz and Milan Kundera to an American audience. Since 1970 he has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In the 1990s, Philip Roth published five major works: PATRIMONY(1991) won the National Book Critics Circle Award; OPERATION SHYLOCK (1993) won the PEN/Faulkner Award; Sabbath's Theater (1995) won the National Book Award; AMERICAN PASTORAL (1997) won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction; and I MARRIED A COMMUNIST (1998) won the Ambassador Award of the English-Speaking Union. Previously Roth won the National Book Critics Circle Award for THE COUNTERLIFE (1986) and the National Book Award for GOODBYE, COLUMBUS (1959). His work has been acclaimed around the world, and in 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House. Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1933 and has lived in Rome, London, Chicago, and New York. He resides now in Connecticut.Arliss Howard has worked extensively in film and theater. Among his many film credits are MEN DON'T LEAVE, FULL METAL JACKET, and A MAP OF THE WORLD.Debra Winger is best known for her work in more than twenty films. She was nominated for the Oscar(R) for Best Actress for her work in the films AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, SHADOWLANDS, and TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, and has starred in URBAN COWBOY, SHELTERING SKY, and many other movies.