Roth, Philip The Human Stain

ISBN 13: 9780099282198

The Human Stain

3.82 avg rating
( 21,960 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780099282198: 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'.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Athena College was snoozing complacently in the Berkshires until Coleman Silk--formerly "Silky Silk", undefeated welterweight pro-boxer--strode in and shook the place awake. This faculty dean sacked the deadwood, made lots of hot new hires, including Yale-spawned literary-theory wunderkind Delphine Roux, and irritated so many people for so many decades that now, in 1998, they have all turned on him. Silk's character assassination is partly owing to what the novel's narrator, Nathan Zuckerman, calls "the Devil of the Little Place--the gossip, the jealousy, the acrimony, the boredom, the lies".

But shocking, intensely dramatised events precipitate Silk's crisis. He remarks of two students who never showed up for class, "Do they exist or are they spooks?" They turn out to be black, and lodge a bogus charge of racism exploited by his enemies. Then, at 71, Viagra catapults Silk into "the perpetual state of emergency that is sexual intoxication", and he ignites an affair with an illiterate janitor, Faunia Farley, 34. She's got a sharp sensibility, "the laugh of a barmaid who keeps a baseball bat at her feet in case of trouble", and a melancholy voluptuousness. "I'm back in the tornado", Silk exults. His campus persecutors burn him for it--and his main betrayer is Delphine Roux.

In a short space, it's tough to convey the gale-force quality of Silk's rants, or the odd effect of Zuckerman's narration, alternately retrospective and torrentially in the moment. The flashbacks to Silk's youth in New Jersey are just as important as his turbulent forced retirement, because it turns out that for his entire adult life, Silk has been covering up the fact that he is a black man. (If this seems implausible, consider that the famous New York Times book critic Anatole Broyard did the same thing.) Young Silk rejects both the racism that bars him from Woolworth's counter and the Negro solidarity of Howard University. "Neither the they of Woolworth's nor the we of Howard" is for Coleman Silk. "Instead the raw I with all its agility. Self-discovery--that was the punch to the labonz.... Self-knowledge but concealed. What is as powerful as that?"

Silk's contradictions power a great Philip Roth novel, but he's not the only character who packs a punch. Faunia, brutally abused by her Vietnam vet husband (a sketchy guy who seems to have wandered in from a lesser Russell Banks novel), scarred by the death of her kids, is one of Roth's best female characters ever. The self-serving Delphine Roux is intriguingly (and convincingly) nutty, and any number of minor characters pop in, mouth off, kick ass, and vanish, leaving a vivid sense of human passion and perversity behind. You might call it a stain. --Tim Appelo

Review:

'The work of a genius at full throttle' -- Sunday Telegraph

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Roth, Philip
Published by Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom (2005)
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New ed.. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 . Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099282198

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Roth, Philip
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller
GreatBookPrices
(Columbia, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 1375632-n

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
5.98
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.10
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Roth, Philip
Published by Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom (2005)
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New ed.. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 . Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099282198

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
8.13
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Roth, Philip
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
BWB
(Valley Stream, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97800992821980000000

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
8.19
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Roth, Philip
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Grand Eagle Retail
(Wilmington, DE, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 129mm x 198mm x 23mm. Paperback. Coleman Silk has a secret. But it's not the secret of his affair, at seventy-one, with a woman half his age. And it's not the secret of his alleged racism, which provoked the college witch.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 384 pages. 0.305. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099282198

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.44
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Roth, Philip
Published by Vintage 2005-08-04 (2005)
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller
Chiron Media
(Wallingford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage 2005-08-04, 2005. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-LBR-00528020

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.73
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Roth, Philip
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
Ria Christie Collections
(Uxbridge, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; 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 S. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780099282198_rkm

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.01
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.91
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Roth, Philip
Published by Vintage (2001)
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
Green Books
(Wicklow, Ireland)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Brand New Book. Shipping: Once your order has been confirmed and payment received, your order will then be processed. The book will be located by our staff, packaged and despatched to you as quickly as possible. From time to time, items get mislaid en route. If your item fails to arrive, please contact us first. We will endeavour to trace the item for you and where necessary, replace or refund the item. Please do not leave negative feedback without contacting us first. All orders will be dispatched within two working days. If you have any quesions please contact us. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099282198

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.01
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 4.23
From Ireland to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Roth, Philip
Published by Vintage (2001)
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Softcover Quantity Available: 3
Seller
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2001. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # GA9780099282198

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
8.04
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.39
From Germany to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Roth, Philip
ISBN 10: 0099282194 ISBN 13: 9780099282198
New Quantity Available: 3
Seller
Speedy Hen LLC
(Sunrise, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ST0099282194. Bookseller Inventory # ST0099282194

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
12.46
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book