Customer Reviews for

The Human Stain

Average Rating 4
( 57 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Engaging, thought provoking, and a novel you won't soon forget

Philip Roth is the modern master of the American novel and The Human Stain is a wonderful example of why he deserves that distinction. It is difficult and surly. Not to read, it is wonderfully written, but to digest. It casts a light on aspects of being both human an...
Philip Roth is the modern master of the American novel and The Human Stain is a wonderful example of why he deserves that distinction. It is difficult and surly. Not to read, it is wonderfully written, but to digest. It casts a light on aspects of being both human and an American that few of us dare examine. It is a skeleton in everyone's closet that no one wants to reveal but that, once felt, must be confronted. It is a novel that will do what so few novels can, challenge you to examine the very notion of what you think you are. As uncomfortable as that may be, it is an experience that no person should forego.

posted by E_Caine on May 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Over rated!!!

The book's plot was very interesting and exciting. However, the writing, although very well done and eloquent was not done so in a fashion as to captivate readers. The reading was actually tedious, and boring. However, a good story if you can get over the boredom.

posted by Anonymous on February 7, 2006

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Engaging, thought provoking, and a novel you won't soon forget

    Philip Roth is the modern master of the American novel and The Human Stain is a wonderful example of why he deserves that distinction. It is difficult and surly. Not to read, it is wonderfully written, but to digest. It casts a light on aspects of being both human and an American that few of us dare examine. It is a skeleton in everyone's closet that no one wants to reveal but that, once felt, must be confronted. It is a novel that will do what so few novels can, challenge you to examine the very notion of what you think you are. As uncomfortable as that may be, it is an experience that no person should forego.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2006

    Over rated!!!

    The book's plot was very interesting and exciting. However, the writing, although very well done and eloquent was not done so in a fashion as to captivate readers. The reading was actually tedious, and boring. However, a good story if you can get over the boredom.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    Wow.. what a read.. but forgettable.

    At times this book was very verbose, which made for some challenging reading. Even so, I needed to get to what ended up being a very unfulfilling ending.
    On a positive note, I got to use the nook dictionary frequently.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2005

    Phenomenal!

    Philip Roth is simply one of the best authors today. His novels, including this one, contain complex story lines and deal with a number of issues. A great read! but those that prefer easy reads, such as Dan Brown's DaVinci Code.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2002

    Bad writing, thematically incoherent

    I consider that the most important standard for judging a novel is whether or not the reader is caught up in the narrative, and forgets that the characters are not real. When I read some novels, I get so caught up that it's winter in the novel, I'm shocked to come back to reality and find that it is summer. No danger of that here. In the first place, Roth can¿t maintain his chosen form: this is predominately written as a memoir of Nathan Zuckerman¿s relationship with Coleman Silk, but Roth from time to time slips into third person omniscient author, a bad idea when one of his themes is the unknowability of the Truth. If the third person parts are not supposed to be an omniscient author, but the personal viewpoint of other characters that have mysteriously found their way into Zuckerman¿s memoir, it¿s very clumsy. He should try reading some of Elizabeth George¿s books (Deception on his Mind or in Pursuit of the Proper Sinner) for some tips on how to do this effectively. The book is also verbose, repetitive and burdened with insignificant and uninteresting details. The issue of identity, particularly contested identities is fascinating to me so I would have expected to find the chapter of Silk¿s early life fascinating but plowing through Roth¿s chatter destroyed my interest. I thought that the description of Monica Lewinsky given by one of the characters pretty well sums up the book: ¿yap, yap, yap.¿ Thematically, Roth has completely missed the boat on the subject of Clinton and Lewinsky and the power of propriety. Is there anyone so naive as to think that entire fiasco was really about sex? While I don¿t think that most of the nation found it edifying to have their Chief Executive demonstrate that being intelligent is no guard against being a fool, it is also true that Clinton¿s approval rating went up with every unsavory revelation. I think most Americans realized that our country cannot afford to have allow fishing expeditions (at public expense!) in a cynical and desperate attempt to finable political power. Roth missed this entirely and instead goes for the cliche of Babbitry and sanctimoniousness. The same for Silk¿s affair with a Faunia Farley. A man consorting with a woman the age of his daughter or granddaughter is such a commonplace that Silk is pretty feeble if he finds the disapproval a burden. Generally the only people who care are the couple¿s children by other partners and jealous would-be lovers. That is what is fueling the controversy in this case, and to lay it at the feet of stifling social proprieties is ludicrous. Silk¿s relationship with his children is unbelievable. Further, he oxymoronically attempts to run Freudian-influenced social psychology in tandem with trumpeting for personal responsibility. The whole point of the doubtful post facto explanations of character as resulting from sometimes hypothetical childhood traumas, at least in our society, is to assert that we are never responsible for our own behavior although we are, en masse, responsible for everyone else¿s. Arguing for responsibility doesn't go too well with Zuckerman's plea that Clinton is a human being, either: so were Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Ted Bundy, Richard Speck, the terrorists who crashed into the World Trade Center, etc., etc.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2013

    Very good reading. Not what you would expect.

    The characters slide in one on you without you noticing that you not only like them at first, they seem familar to me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2012

    I'm in awe of the authors command of the English language. The

    I'm in awe of the authors command of the English language. The book haunts the soul long after you put it down. Don't be surprised if you're disappointed in humanity as a whole when you are done. I was. Still am.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Kentaro

    Nothin. Jst came in to look.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Lexi

    What do you need?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Call from the hospital

    Hey its Kristi

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Rebeccas house

    I need a husband. My boyfriend left me, and i am having a child in a few weeks. I need someone to be their for me.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Mcdonalds

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2005

    The Human Stain Washed Clean

    An execellent presentation of the way society sees a man, a human man. But, was this story fiction or non-fiction? There are hundreds of real life untold stories, perhaps the same of simular.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2004

    Holly, a highschool student

    Wow! Fabulous! I loved the thrill of reading the engaging and practical book. The book was outstanding and it is worth reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2004

    Incredible!

    In the novel, The Human Stain, there is an astounding sense of creativity: a whole new concept of characterization, identity, and understanding the human instinct/feelings. Definetly intruiging and interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2004

    Overly verbose

    This book could both captivate me at times and totally bore me at others. I had a problem with the premise of this book. How can one really pass as either Caucasian or African American? I found that truly hard to believe. I also wanted to know more about the reasoning Coleman abandoned his true heritage. Passages in this book tended to be so long winded that my mind often wandered. Too much analytical mumbo jumbo going on. The ending was disappointing. Now I need to rent the movie to see how the book was adapted to the screen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2004

    Not the best author to tackle the issue of race

    Roth gave a superficial and seemingly one dimensional account of a man's deep-rooted conflict over his racial identity. Sadly, the reader is left to assume why this man has completely abondoned his racial and ethnic roots. Roth dipped his foot in the water and tried to claim total submersion... didn't work. Try reading Toni Morrison or James Baldwin-- they'll teach you a lot more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2003

    the human stain

    this is a very good book that broaches many contraversial and debatable topics. Roth goes off on a tangent a few too many times, but if you can get past that, he really is an incredible writer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2003

    I COULDN'T PUT THIS ONE DOWN!

    This is a captivating book that remains with the reader long after the book is finished. This was my first Philip Roth novel and I look forward to my next one...The Human Stain was a mesmerizing experience

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2002

    Philip Roth + Human Condition = Literary WOW!

    In a word: brilliant. In a few more words: Roth's command and presentation of lyrical and complex language is exactly what makes the theme and the plot most convincing, believable and haunting. I read this book over a year ago; it is still lingering with me.

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