"The Human Stain" provides one of the most provocative explorations of race and rage in American literature.
Christian Science Monitor
Mr. Roth does a beautifully nuanced job...by turns, unnerving, hilarious and sad.
The New York Times
With…THE HUMAN STAIN, Philip Roth, the great autobiographer, has transformed himself into Philip Roth, the great social novelist.
The Chicago Tribune
"At 67, Roth has not lost one ampere of his power to rile and surprise." Time Magazine
"A strong successor to the earlier two books; recommended for most fiction collections." Library Journal
"... this novel…eloquently makes its case for the transcendent complexity of the human soul." The Miami Herald
"To be human, Roth tells us in this roiling, sometimes persuasive novel, is to make our dirty mark." Newsday
THE HUMAN STAIN exposes the stress that… race and ethnicity, economics, puritanism and paranoia…have placed on the American Dream.
"With the help of his alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, Roth continues the inquiry into the state of the American soul during the second half of the twentieth-century. Fueled by the story of his magnetic hero, Coleman Silk, it roars, with heart-revving velocity, through a literary landscape that embraces the politics of race and sex, the Vietnam War, and the absurdity of extreme political correctness, the dumbing down of the academy, and President Clinton's impeachment. Coleman, a classics professor at a small Berkshire college, embodies all the ambition, paradox, anger, and futility of the American dream, and, over the course of his secretive life, he displays all the mettlesome powers of theGreek and Roman gods he helps immortalize. Naturally, a man this fired up makes enemies, and no one defends him when his brilliant careercapsizes over a misunderstanding regarding his use of the word spooks to refer to students who failed to materialize in the classroom. Howwas he to know they were black? How was anyone to know that he would be the last professor on earth to make a racist remark? Enragedby the inanity of the ensuing brouhaha, Coleman resigns. Then, when his wife dies unexpectedly, he becomes involved with a woman who ishalf his age and illiterate. These unlikely lovers are surely doomed, and Zuckerman seems destined to discover the truth about Coleman,which reveals so many truths about the land he so passionately portrays. As Roth unfurls his hero's galvanizing tale, he protests the tyrannyof prejudice and propriety, recognizes the "terrifyingly provisional nature of everything," and shakes his head in sorrow and wonder over the"inevitably stained creatures that we are." -- Donna Seaman
"A marvel of imaginative empathy, generosity, and tact. Roth's late maturity looks more and more like his golden age." Kirkus Reviews