The Human Stain

The Human Stain

Book - 2000
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Houghton
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 his most virulent accuser. Coleman Silk has a secret. But it's not the secret of his affair, at seventy-one, with Faunia Farley, a woman half his age with a savagely wrecked past--a part-time farmhand and a janitor at the college where, until recently, he was the powerful dean of faculty. And it's not the secret of Coleman's alleged racism, which provoked the college witch-hunt that cost him his job and, to his mind, killed his wife. Nor is it the secret of misogyny, despite the best efforts of his ambitious young colleague, Professor Delphine Roux, to expose him as a fiend. Coleman's secret has been kept for fifty years: from his wife, his four children, his colleagues, and his friends, including the writer Nathan Zuckerman, who sets out to understand how this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for nearly all his life, had fabricated his identity and how that cannily controlled life came unraveled. Set in 1990s America, where conflicting moralities and ideological divisions are made manifest through public denunciation and rituals of purification,The Human Stain concludes Philip Roth's eloquent trilogy of postwar American lives that are as tragically determined by the nation's fate as by the "human stain" that so ineradicably marks human nature. This harrowing, deeply compassionate, and completely absorbing novel is a magnificent successor to his Vietnam-era novel, American Pastoral, and his McCarthy-era novel,I Married a Communist.


Baker & Taylor
A college professor with a sexual indiscretion in his past is hounded from his job by academic enemies who label him a racist

Blackwell North Amer
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 his most virulent accuser.
Coleman Silk has a secret. But it's not the secret of his affair, at seventy-one, with Faunia Farley, a woman half his age with a savagely wrecked past, a part-time farm-hand and a janitor at Athena College, where until recently Coleman was the powerful dean of faculty. And it's not the secret of misogyny, despite the best efforts of his ambitious young colleague at the college, Professor Delphine Roux, to expose him as a fiend. Nor is it the secret of Coleman's alleged racism, which provoked the college witch-hunt that cost him his job and, to his mind, killed his wife.
Coleman's secret has been kept for fifty years: from his wife, his four children, his colleagues, and his friends, including the writer Nathan Zuckerman, who sets out to reconstruct the biography of this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for nearly all his life, and to understand how that ingeniously contrived life came untraveled.

Baker
& Taylor

In an insightful new novel by the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author of I Married a Communist, a college professor with a sexual indiscretion in his past is hounded from his job by academic enemies who label him a racist. 100,000 first printing.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2000
ISBN: 9780618059454
0618059458
Characteristics: 361 p. ; 24 cm

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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 16, 2014

Roth is a terrific writer with an astute eye for illuminating society’s foibles; in this particular instance the weaknesses of a small New England College town are fair game. An aging professor, charged with racism, resigns his position, and very slowly the secret truths of his life are unveiled. Our compassion for this man, with all his human stains, mingles with astonishment at what he does to achieve his goals.

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RONALD NEWTON
Jan 21, 2012

Read on the recommendation of SL. Later learned it was part of a "trilogy." A trilogy as defined by the author where, it appears the novelist Zuckerman is the common thread.

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Cabby
Sep 09, 2008

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RONALD NEWTON
Jan 21, 2012

RONALD NEWTON thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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