Benji's Reviews > The Human Stain

The Human Stain by Philip Roth
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Jan 14, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, all-time-favorites, movie-relation, favorite-by-this-author, read-in-morocco
Read from January 09 to 12, 2011

** spoiler alert ** 180 pages in

Love this one so far: to this point, its flawless, my favorite Roth book. The charm of PLOT AGAINST with the heaviness of American Pastoral. Lots of echoes of INVISIBLE MAN, from what I understand about that book (havent read it yet). He has such an ability to make you love then hate his characters so fully.

It's very courageous -- he's walking a thin rope that might veer off in the same way it happens for the main character. In some ways, it's a synthesis of THE DYING ANIMAL and American Pastoral. Many shared themes and overlap. The need to do everything right, and how unsatisfying that can be, this time set in the world of academia (but really only for some pages). As Zadie Smith says, you can't go wrong with a male-friendship-bonding story.

This book touched enough chords about the nature and difficulty of biracilal life that it inspired me to revisit the Obama bio RENEGADE and carry through to the finish of that.

I didnt notice it until he mentioned several names and places in the same paragraph: Athena, he lives secluded on a a mountain like a Greek god, and we know early on that the two people die (or is it the cows? the 'they' he uses when he mentions that is unclear). Because of that foreshadowing, I'm starting to see the character as one of Socrates drinking the hemlock. Don't know, we'll see. Another 200 pages left.


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This one just got better andbetter.My favorite from him so far for sure.. The last 50 pages I loved how everyone had their secrets. Thats what the book is, for sure. Even Zuckerman. Now, Ive seen him in interviews and apparently hes not like Zuckerman at all but you forget that when reading.
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