'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'.
“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”
“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”
“One of the most beautiful books I've ever read”
“An extraordinary book - bursting with rage, humming with ideas, full of dazzling sleights of hand'”
“[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