The Human Stain

361 pages

English language

Published July 14, 2001 by Vintage International.

ISBN:
978-0-375-72634-7
Copied ISBN!

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (14 reviews)

Coleman Silk is a respected professor at a New England college who suddenly finds his life unraveling after a comment he makes about some African-American students is misinterpreted as a racial slur. As the scandal heats up, Nathan Zuckerman, a writer researching a biography of Silk, begins to dig deeply into Silk's life. Eventually, matters are made worse when Coleman's affair with a young married janitor named Faunia Farley is exposed. But amid the controversy, Silk must struggle to keep his greatest secret, a secret he's held for the majority of his life, from becoming made public.

16 editions

Review of 'Der menschliche Makel' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Am Anfang fand ich das Buch zäh, kam nicht leicht rein, auch später kam es mir manchmal etwas in die Länge gezogen vor.

Aber irgendwann hatte mich die Geschichte. Weil es um Leben (Plural) geht, mit allem was dazugehört: Identität, Familie, Tod; me myself and I, die Zweierkiste, die Gesellschaft; Macht und Ohnmacht, Denken und Fühlen, Zivilisation und Animalität. Das Ganze auch auf der Ebene Gesellschaft: Doppelmoral, Politik, Skandalisierung, Milieus, Konflikte.

Und immer wieder Ambiguität: Opfer und Täter, dumm und schlau, Identität und Zuschreibung. Was ist – was andere sehen. Wie das Leben ist – wie Leben sein könnten. Eine Perspektive gegen eine andere. Dazwischen riesige Lücken, die aber immer wieder überwunden werden. Und wie wir mit den Symbolen jonglieren, uns etwas zusammenkonstruieren, Geschichten erfinden, Leben erzählen.

Postmodern aber handfest. Fand ich gut.

Nicht ganz klar ist mir, wie die Kritik an politischer Korrektheit gemeint ist. Ich lese es als …

Review of 'The human stain' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Not a book I would have read on my own, but I think it is a great subject for a book club discussion (which is why I read it): So many thought-provoking themes about identity; class; the ways our own selfish actions reverberate through the lives of our loved ones, even many years later; and what our responsibility to our ancestors and society should be. I've never read a Roth novel so I'm not sure how it compares to his other works, but I would recommend it.

Review of 'The human stain' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Roth is so thorough! He delves deeply into characters other authors might pull in to play their part and then quickly dismiss, but he explores them only insofar as they contribute to the answers to the questions. Deep background and psyche.

The Human Stain's questions are all about identity: the limits society foists upon individuals as they try to chart their course and how one acts within those constraints or shakes them off entirely. Even when the chosen paths are disastrous and obviously so from the start, Roth provides a foundation for the decisions. It takes pretty deep sympathy for widely divers characters for Roth to make his creations relateable.

avatar for Condalmo

rated it

3 stars
avatar for seanbala

rated it

4 stars
avatar for TidePoolParty

rated it

3 stars
avatar for fabriek

rated it

5 stars
avatar for vincekd

rated it

5 stars
avatar for mikewilson

rated it

3 stars
avatar for xianny

rated it

2 stars
avatar for Ellemir

rated it

4 stars
avatar for marcelweiss

rated it

4 stars

Subjects

  • Passing (Identity) -- Fiction
  • African American men -- Fiction
  • College teachers -- Fiction
  • Jewish men -- Fiction
  • Newark (N.J.) -- Fiction

Places

  • Newark (N.J.)

Lists