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About the book
  • Published: 4 May 2001
  • ISBN: 9780099282198
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $19.99
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The Human Stain




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

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'.

  • Pub date: 4 May 2001
  • ISBN: 9780099282198
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Philip Roth

Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey on 19 March 1933. The second child of second-generation Americans, Bess and Herman Roth, Roth grew up in the largely Jewish community of Weequahic, a neighbourhood he was to return to time and again in his writing. After graduating from Weequahic High School in 1950, he attended Bucknell University, Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago, where he received a scholarship to complete his M.A. in English Literature.

In 1959, Roth published Goodbye, Columbus – a collection of stories, and a novella – for which he received the National Book Award. Ten years later, the publication of his fourth novel, Portnoy’s Complaint, brought Roth both critical and commercial success, firmly securing his reputation as one of America’s finest young writers. Roth was the author of thirty-one books, including those that were to follow the fortunes of Nathan Zuckerman, and a fictional narrator named Philip Roth, through which he explored and gave voice to the complexities of the American experience in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.

Roth’s lasting contribution to literature was widely recognised throughout his lifetime, both in the US and abroad. Among other commendations he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the International Man Booker Prize, twice the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award, and presented with the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal by Presidents Clinton and Obama, respectively.

Philip Roth died on 22 May 2018 at the age of eighty-five having retired from writing six years previously.

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Praise for The Human Stain

“The Human Stain pulses with the strengths that make Roth a prime contender for the status of the most impressive novelist now writing in and about America”

Sunday Times

“One of his very best... There are passages of such sustained brilliance here that I found myself going over them again and again in gaping disbelief. An extraordinary book - bursting with rage, humming with ideas, full of dazzling sleights of hand”

Sunday Telegraph

“One of the most beautiful books I've ever read”

Red

“An extraordinary book - bursting with rage, humming with ideas, full of dazzling sleights of hand'”

Sunday Telegraph

“[A] tender, shocking and incendiary story on the failure of the American dream refracted through the prism of race”

Arifa Akbar, Guardian

“A novel so furious in its telling, with a plot so intricate in its construction that it is infused with a kind of diabolic joy. A masterpiece”

Mail on Sunday


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