The Human Stain by Philip Roth

The Human Stain is set in 1990s America, the time of the culture wars, political correctness and the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. The story is told by Nathan Zuckerman, a writer who lives a secluded life until Coleman Silk becomes his new neighbor. Silk is a classics professor and dean of faculty at Athena College, a fictional institution in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. At 71, Silk falls victim to an unjustified charge of racism against two black students, whom he calls "spooks" because they had never shown up in his seminar: "Do they exist or are they spooks?" This incident leads to Silk's resignation and soon after to the death of his wife Iris. Silk starts an affair with one of the school's janitors, Faunia Farley, a 34 year old woman who was married to an alcoholic, drug-addicted, abusive and disturbed Vietnam veteran. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Coleman Silk has been living a lie for most of his life: he is actually a light-skinned black man passing as white and Jewish.

The 477th greatest fiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 110 Best Books: The Perfect Library (The Telegraph)
  2. - PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (PEN/Faulkner)
  3. - What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years? (New York Times)
  4. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
Bookclub in a Box Discusses the Novel The Human Stain Paperback 11007668 $23.54 2005
La mancha humana / The Human Stain (Spanish Edition) Paperback 2694952 $8.95 $7.78 2018
The Human Stain: American Trilogy (3) Paperback 37144 $5.09 $0.10 2001
La mancha humana [The Human Stain] Audible Audiobook 267206 $17.36 2019
The Human Stain by Roth,Philip. [2000] Hardcover Hardcover 677604 $30.00 $17.42
The Human Stain Hardcover 228633 $6.71 $0.01
Human Stain Paperback 2045580 $7.00 $0.01
The Human Stain: A Novel (Nathan Zuckerman) Kindle Edition 32815 $9.99 2000
The Human Stain: A Novel American Trilogy (3) by Roth, Philip unknown Edition [Paperback(2001)] Paperback 6633856 $12.71 $7.18 2001
La mancha humana (Spanish Edition) Kindle Edition 867399 $6.99 2011
The Human Stain Paperback 3125130 $5.75 $0.01
The Human Stain: A Novel Paperback 3818596 $38.91 $0.01