Growing Baby Bunny

82 Posts
Karma: +6/-0
I've just finished reading The human stain, a famous novel by Philip Roth. I grabbed it after finishing Kundera's the unbearable lightness of being, which is interesting because Kundera's philosophy and quality is referenced in a passage of Roth's book.

I can't even begin to say how good this book is. I had never read anything by Roth before, and I wish I had, because he wrote many books and if this is any indication, he might become one of my favorite authors.

The story follows the fall from grace of Coleman Silk, a venerable college profesor and ex dean who's been falsely accused of racism. At 71, he's also taken a young lover, a 34-year-old cleaning woman named Faunia Farley. Their affair becomes known two years after his quitting the university, after his wife has died maybe because of the suffering from that incident, and now Silk is symbolically sacrificed again. His friend, writer Nathan Zuckerman (the protagonist of several previous novels by Roth), is witness to all of this and his voice is prevalent in the pages of the novel, as he offers us the kind of deep, smart observations that we expect from an acute intellectual.

But that is nothing! Nothing, I tell you! Because about a quarter way of this 360-page book we find out that Coleman Silk has another secret. I will reveal it under spoiler tags, but believe me, it's best not to know it, and I strongly suggest you to grab the novel and read it, and the effect will be greatly diminished if you know this secret beforehand.

Coleman Silk is black. As in, a black man, a colored man, only with white skin. Some people notice that he's a Negro or a nigger, words that are directed to him in the story, but most people don't have a clue, and that's how he can become a respected member of the academic community in the years of racial prejudice before the human rights advancements. His decision to pass for white estranged him from his family and let him rebuild himself as a different person.

It's all very puzzling and at times hilarious, and it lets Roth perform a literary tour de force, painting a masterful portrait of past and current America. Also, the title drop, by means of Faunia, reminded me of Albert Camus' The plague, but I found it immensely interesting that the observation this woman (this illiterate woman, this disadvantaged and suicidal cleaning lady) makes in that passage is, in The plague, uttered by the one character in the book Camus treats as a philosopher. Talk about differences in the French and American approach to literature!

In short, I profusely recommend this novel, and I truly hope you have resisted the temptation to read the spoiler. It's more than worth it.



Marketing Team

6,253 Posts
Karma: +94/-1
It was hard resisting the spoiler, but I did it!

Know anywhere I can get the audiobook? :D



Growing Baby Bunny

82 Posts
Karma: +6/-0
Sadly, not. I read it on paper. It was given to me by someone who was getting rid of many books and let me grab some before going to the donation bin. :)


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Sebastián Lalaurette (elbitjusticiero) is a Novelist who has made 82 posts since joining Creative Burrow on 02:23am Mon, Apr 27, 2015. elbitjusticiero was invited by no one.

About elbitjusticiero
I am a professional journalist and writer. I've worked for a national newspaper for eleven years, and I've published three children's books. All my published work is in Spanish. I'm now looking for a literary agent in the United States so that I can break into the English-speaking market.

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Children's and young adults' novels, fantasy short stories, poetry, and whatever is to come!

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Coming Soon