Jeremy's Reviews > The Human Stain

The Human Stain by Philip Roth
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's review
Jan 15, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: american-fiction

This is extremely well written, the characters, the narration, the dialogue, they all have this very thoughtful, measured quality that makes the whole thing seem incredibly believable. Yet the human stain feels, somehow, not exaclty dated, but maybe just too much of its time. The way it touches upon the fallout from the Lewinsky scandal and the often asinine identity politics of 90's academia struck me as just too concerned with the sort of petty moral dramas that seem almost laughable in light of the past 10 years or so of American history. Now obviously, it isn't fair to fault Roth for writing something that is concerned with the issues of the time it was written, which to be fair, he deals with far more intelligently, far more adultly than a lot of writers do. I guess I just prefer the Roth who writes so searingly about private, familial rage, a la American Pastoral, to the Roth who tries to find some sensible middle ground amidst a tidal wave of cloyingly righteous public rage. Admittedly, I haven't read that much Roth, but I think I prefer him when he's foaming at the mouth to when he's trying to be reasonable.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Harlan Watch the trailer for the awful movie they made out of this. Anthony Hopkins is NOT biracial and Nicole Kidman is NOT working class.

Jeremy Yikes, that does look bad. Evidently they couldn't find a competent casting director.

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