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The Human Stain PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Human Stain
Author: Philip Roth
Publisher: Published April 5th 2001 by Vintage (first published May 2000)
ISBN: 9780099282198
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town an aging Classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would astonish even his most virulent accuser. Coleman Silk has a secre It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town an aging Classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would astonish even his most virulent accuser. Coleman Silk has a secret, one which has been kept for fifty years from his wife, his four children, his colleagues, and his friends, including the writer Nathan Zuckerman. It is Zuckerman who stumbles upon Silk's secret and sets out to reconstruct the unknown biography of this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for nearly all his life, and to understand how this ingeniously contrived life came unraveled. And to understand also how Silk's astonishing private history is, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, "magnificently" interwoven with "the larger public history of modern America."

30 review for The Human Stain

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”All he’d ever wanted, from earliest childhood on, as to be free: not black, not even white--just on his own and free. He meant no insult to no one by his choice, nor was he trying to irritate anyone whom he took to be his superior, nor was he staging some sort of protest against his race or hers. He recognized that to conventional people for whom everything was ready-made and rigidly unalterable what he was doing would never look correct. But to dare to be nothing more than correct had never be ”All he’d ever wanted, from earliest childhood on, as to be free: not black, not even white--just on his own and free. He meant no insult to no one by his choice, nor was he trying to irritate anyone whom he took to be his superior, nor was he staging some sort of protest against his race or hers. He recognized that to conventional people for whom everything was ready-made and rigidly unalterable what he was doing would never look correct. But to dare to be nothing more than correct had never been his aim. The objective was for his fate to be determined not by the ignorant, hate-filled intentions of a hostile world but, to whatever degree humanly possible, by his own resolve. Why accept a life on any other terms?” Coleman Silk went into the Navy as a Caucasian because his pigment allowed him to do so. After a perceptive whore (they are bona fide experts on the male anatomy) in a brothel noticed something about his physique that gave him away as black he was hurled from the establishment. His girlfriend in college who thought he was white met his parents only to learn differently. She, after a moment of hysterics, dumped him. It wasn’t hard to understand that life provided more opportunities if the world perceived him as white. The timely death of his father, who would have put a kibosh on the whole thing, gave him the freedom to choose. His mother, his brother, and his sister were simply people that had to be carefully cut out of his life. ”You don’t have to murder your father. The world will do that for you. There are plenty of forces out to get your father. The world will take care of him, as it had indeed taken care of Mr. Silk.” Silk married and landed a job at Athena College. He advanced to the position of Dean of Faculty. He was respected, but as happens with most successful people he made enemies. He also along the way had four kids which is four times that he was sitting in a waiting room offering up prayers to whatever deity would hear them with his fingers, toes, and everything else crossed hoping the baby would be...white. He dodged every bullet, but as some wise man said there is always a bullet with your name on it. Maybe it was just that he was old and didn’t move as fast as he used to, but the bullet that caught him and cost him his job was bordering on ridiculous. Where was the man that intimidated his kids with words? ”The father who never lost his temper. The father who had another way to beating you down. With words. With speech. With what he called ‘the language of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dickens.’ With the English language that no one could ever take away from you and that Mr. Silk richly sounded, always with great fullness and clarity and bravado, as though even in ordinary conversation he were reciting Marc Antony’s speech over the body of Caesar.” I don’t think he took it seriously. How could anyone? He was calling roll call for a class and noticed that two people were gone again and had been gone since the beginning of the quarter. ”Does anyone know these people? Do they exist or are they spooks?” They were both black students. Silk is charged with racism and dismissed. I’ve never really understood the derogatory connotations of using the word Spook in regard to a black person. Wouldn’t it make more sense for black people to call white people spooks? I believe the term came into usage as a way to scare white children (a ghost that would get them) who had never seen a black person. Regardless, it does exist and any reasonable well educated person knows the word as a derogatory term when referring to people of color. The problem with this charge of racism is intent. If Silk had known the students were black would he have used the term? To me it was just a moment of levity out of frustration about students that weren’t attending class. The problem is when your life is words you must select them carefully. The irony of course is that he can’t reveal his most important secret even for the defense of his career. Although that does beg the question can’t a black person make a racist comment against another black person? It can get rather confusion about who is capable of being guilty of what especially when race is indeterminate. Silk’s wife dies and he believes the scandal killed her. He goes off the rails, accusing practically everyone he knows as being part of a grand conspiracy against him. I sympathize because most of the time I feel the same way, but I know they will slap a strait jacket on me and throw me into the nearest rubber room if I give them proper opportunity. He actually finds a much more fun way to put the final nail in the coffin of his reputation. He (seventy-two) starts having sex with a thirty-four year old, illiterate janitor, and part time milk maid at the local dairy. He requires the help of the “miracle drug of the 20th century”. ”Thanks to Viagra I’ve come to understand Zeus’s amorous transformations. That’s what they should have called Viagra. They should have called it Zeus.” Silk is falling in love with Faunia, but she sets him straight. ”He’d said to her, ‘This is more than sex,’ and flatly she replied, ‘ no, it’s not. You just forgot what sex is. This is sex. All by itself. Don’t fuck it up by pretending it’s something else.’” All is going well, well that’s not true. His kids are not speaking to him and he is receiving rebuking letters from his former colleagues, most by the way who he had hired as Dean of Faculty. His biggest problem is Fauna’s ex-husband, Les Farley, a Vietnam vet who is as stable as nitroglycerin. He is less than thrilled that his ex-wife is blowing a seventy-two year old man. The war warped him in a way that can never be planed straight. After the government trained him to be a killer and allowed him to embrace all his worst impulses by giving him the authority to shoot anything that moves with a machine gun from a helicopter, they gave him two hundred dollars and a pat on the back for his service to his country. See ya Les. Good luck back in the real world. Back in the real world he can’t eat at a Chinese restaurant without wanting to kill the waiter. This story is set against the backdrop of the Clinton impeachment and Roth is able to worm into the text the opinions of various people about Slick Willie and Monica Lewinsky. Silk’s own perceived indiscretion becomes magnified for the community already reeling from a President who nearly went down because the Essence of Bill was discovered on a navy blue dress. At thirty-four Fauna had been around the block a few times. For anyone to think that Silk was taking advantage of her was ludicrous. At what age does someone pass over the barrier of being able to be taken advantage of by someone older than themselves? Aren’t people close in age as capable of taking advantage (whatever that entails) as someone twenty, thirty, forty years older? There are so many great discussion points in this book. You might even find the needle has moved on something you think of as a core belief. I'm always questioning why I believe something and books like this put hockey puck ideas in my mind that bounce, carom, and sometimes hit the net proving that nothing is as firm a belief as I think it is. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 4 out of 5

    °°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο Αμ

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "Αυτά παθαίνεις άμα μεγαλώνεις με ανθρώπους. Το ανθρώπινο στίγμα...έτσι είναι. Αφήνουμε ένα στίγμα, το αποτύπωμά μας. Ακαθαρσία,σκληρότητα, κακοποίηση, σφάλμα, περιττώματα, σπέρμα- δεν έχουμε άλλον τρόπο να δηλώσουμε την παρουσία μας. Και αυτό το στίγμα δεν έχει σχέση με ανυπακοή, καμιά σχέση με σωτηρία και λύτρωση. Το έχουμε όλοι μας. Είναι μέσα μας. Έμφυτο. Μας καθορίζει. Το στίγμα ενυπάρχει μέσα μας πριν αφήσει την κηλίδα του. Υπάρχει χωρίς το σημάδι του. Είναι τόσο έμφυτο ώστε να μην απαιτεί "Αυτά παθαίνεις άμα μεγαλώνεις με ανθρώπους. Το ανθρώπινο στίγμα...έτσι είναι. Αφήνουμε ένα στίγμα, το αποτύπωμά μας. Ακαθαρσία,σκληρότητα, κακοποίηση, σφάλμα, περιττώματα, σπέρμα- δεν έχουμε άλλον τρόπο να δηλώσουμε την παρουσία μας. Και αυτό το στίγμα δεν έχει σχέση με ανυπακοή, καμιά σχέση με σωτηρία και λύτρωση. Το έχουμε όλοι μας. Είναι μέσα μας. Έμφυτο. Μας καθορίζει. Το στίγμα ενυπάρχει μέσα μας πριν αφήσει την κηλίδα του. Υπάρχει χωρίς το σημάδι του. Είναι τόσο έμφυτο ώστε να μην απαιτείται κηλίδα....οποιοσδήποτε λόγος περί κάθαρσης είναι φάρσα. Και πολύ βάρβαρη μάλιστα. Η φαντασίωση της καθαρότητας είναι τρομαχτική. Παράλογη. Τι είναι η επιδίωξη της καθαρότητας αν όχι κι άλλη ρυπαρότητα;....το στίγμα είναι αναπόφευκτο..." Μέσα απο την ιστορία της Αμερικής γεννιέται το σύγχρονο μοντέλο ζωής. Το "στίγμα",η κοινοτοπία του κακού, υπάρχει πριν την ύπαρξη της ανθρώπινης υπόστασης και διαιωνίζεται μέσα απο αυτή. Ένα εξαιρετικό βιβλίο,θα έλεγα το καλύτερο της Αμερικανικής τριλογίας. ΤΡΑΓΙΚΗ ΕΙΡΩΝΙΑ σε όλο της το μεγαλείο. Προσπάθεια κάθαρσης και πλήρους αυτομόλησης με τρομερές συνεπείες. Ο απάνθρωπος που προσπαθεί να αλλάξει το πεπρωμένο του χωρίς να μπορεί να υπολογίσει το αναπόδραστο της ιστορίας του κόσμου που εξελίσσεται. Φαντάστηκε πως η φυγή του αν πετύχει θα κρατήσει για πάντα. Μετά διαπίστωσε τραγικά ρεαλιστικά πως τα πάντα έχουν πρόσκαιρο χαρακτήρα και η ιστορία καθώς και η μοίρα των εξελίξεων σε αιφνιδιάζουν ανεξέλεγκτα. Ο καθηγητής Κόλμαν είναι ο άνθρωπος που πάλεψε με την ιεροτελεστία της προσωπικής του κάθαρσης και νικήθηκε. Ο Κόλμαν είναι ένας σπουδαίος καθηγητής κλασικών σπουδών καταφέρνει ως κοσμήτορας σε ένα παρηκμασμένο πανεπιστήμιο να αλλάξει άρδην την ποιότητα σπουδών,να βελτιώσει και να εκσυγχρονίσει με την δυναμική προσωπικότητα του όλο το ακαδημαϊκό σύστημα του ιδρύματος. Βρίσκεται στο απόγειο της καταξίωσης του. Άριστος οικογενειάρχης. Ευυπόληπτος πολίτης. Άψογος ακαδημαϊκός και ήρωας αρχαίας τραγωδίας. Μια τραγωδία που σκηνοθέτησε ολομόναχος και αφού διέπραξε την ύβρη, περιμένει την κάθαρση χωρίς ίχνος μεταμέλειας ή θυσίας προς τους θεούς της μοίρας. Αναπόφευκτα ακολουθεί η προσωπική νέμεση. Την ιστορία του καθηγητή την μαθαίνουμε και πάλι απο τον συγγραφέα Νέιθαν Ζούκερμαν, ο οποίος αναπτύσσει φιλική σχέση με τον Κόλμαν και προσπαθεί να κατανοήσει την ιδιοσυγκρασία του καθηγητή και το μυστήριο του θανάτου του. Γνωρίζονται πάνω στον παροξυσμό αγανάκτησης του καθηγητή αμέσως μετά το θάνατο της συζύγου του όπου και εισβάλει στη ζωή του -παραιτημένου απο όλα-Ζούκερμαν απαιτώντας απο τον συγγραφέα να γράψει βιβλίο στο οποίο θα αποκαλύπτει ποιοι σκότωσαν τη σύζυγο του ως ηθικοί αυτουργοί. Ο Κόλμαν ανατρέπει την νεκρική προβλεψιμότητα της ζωής του Ζούκερμαν όταν του μιλάει για το παρελθόν του αλλά κυρίως για το πολύπαθο παρόν του. Ο καθηγητής κατηγορείται ως ρατσιστής απο την πανεπιστημιακή κοινότητα ύστερα απο ενα διφορούμενο γλωσσικά σχόλιο που κάνει μέσα στην τάξη. Αναφέρεται σε δυο μονίμως απόντες μαθητές που δεν γνωρίζει καν πως είναι νέγροι αφού δεν τους έχει δει ποτέ. Αναγκάζεται να παραιτηθεί και χάνοντας τη σύζυγο του χάνει τα πάντα. Ότιδηποτε έχτιζε χρόνια πάνω σε ψεύτικες βάσεις στήριξης. Απο εκεί ξεκινάει η κάτω βόλτα. Αρχίζει ο πόλεμος των εντυπώσεων και ανατέμνονται βαθιές δομές της Αμερικανικής κοινωνίας που θίγουν την νεότερη ιστορία. Ξεπροβάλλουν απροκάλυπτα οι φυλετικές διακρίσεις, τα δικαιώματα των νέγρων,ο πόλεμος του Βιετνάμ, ο πόλεμος του Ιράκ, το πέος του Κλίντον στο οβάλ γραφείο και η στροφή στο δήθεν συντηρητισμό. Ο Κόλμαν εξομολογείται στον Ζούκερμαν ότι μετά το στιγματισμό του και τη διάλυση της οικογένειας του έχει συνάψει ερωτική σχέση με μια αναλφάβητη καθαρίστρια που ηλικιακά θα μπορούσε να είναι εγγονή του, η οποία είναι μια ακόμη τραγική φιγούρα σε αυτή την παράσταση της κάθαρσης. Το μεγάλο μυστικό του όμως δεν το ομολογεί. Αυτό είναι η λύτρωση και ο θάνατος του. Ο αξιότιμος καθηγητής Κόλμαν κατάγεται απο οικογένεια νέγρων. Είναι ένας ανοιχτόχρωμος νέγρος που μεγαλώνει βιώνοντας το ρατσισμό αφού τον κατατρέχει ο χαρακτηρισμός του "αράπη". Αποφασίζει να ξαναγεννηθεί ως Εβραίος και να απαρνηθεί για πάντα μάνα, οικογένεια,καταγωγή,φυλή. Αρνείται τη στιγματισμένη του γενιά και την κατώτερη νέγρικη κοινωνία των παιδικών του χρόνων. Κρατάει κρυφή την καταγωγή του ακόμη και απο τη σύζυγο και τα τέσσερα παιδιά του. Και φτάνει σαράντα χρόνια μετά να αποβάλλεται απο μια αντιρατσιστική κοινωνία που υπερασπίζεται τα δικά του δικαιώματα. Στο τέρμα της ζωής του, η σύγχρονη ιστορία των ίσων δικαιωμάτων κατηγορεί τον νέγρο συνταξιούχο κοσμήτορα πανεπιστημίου για...ρατσιστή. "Ποια η ιεροτελεστία της κάθαρσης; Πως γίνεται; Με εξοστρακισμό ή ανταποδίδοντας το αίμα με αίμα". Σοφοκλής,Οιδίπους τύραννος Καλή ανάγνωση Άνθρωποι και Άνθρωποι!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    See, I was an enormous fan of the Tony Hopkins/ Nicky Kidman film already. But incredibly, that adapatation was just the tip of an iceburg so rich, complex & incredible that is Philip Roth's masterpiece "The Human Stain." The film fails oh-so miserably to fulfill at least 40% of the emotional clout (which is significant and HEAVVVY) famously attributed to this, a gargantuan beauty of a book. It seems that this late in the year, the magic wand waved by Literature is (constantly and repeatedly) See, I was an enormous fan of the Tony Hopkins/ Nicky Kidman film already. But incredibly, that adapatation was just the tip of an iceburg so rich, complex & incredible that is Philip Roth's masterpiece "The Human Stain." The film fails oh-so miserably to fulfill at least 40% of the emotional clout (which is significant and HEAVVVY) famously attributed to this, a gargantuan beauty of a book. It seems that this late in the year, the magic wand waved by Literature is (constantly and repeatedly) still dabbing this dreary moment of living history with its good work: I've read at least four sure MASTERPIECES this year. 2010: not so bad after all. Roth meshes history with modern tragedy; parallels that* with the goings on of a disgraced college professor; the torrid love affair is placed in the backdrop; the national consciousness is the Theme, as is the sadness in people living (or pretending to live) in modern times. I fell in LOVE with this book (difficult, academic, and witty) for its dimension and its crisp flavor. All characters are worthy of at least a few tears for Roth has so faithfully captured how the country fucks people over (and over, & over) and how the price of freedom means the loss of something perhaps as equally important. If the film is above average, then the novel, a modern Bovary-esque tale with so much personality and imbedded tragedy in it to make it worthy of a faithful readership for the decades that are to come, (so modern and CLASSIC it is!) is quite simply (no joke) FLAW-LESS. * The Clinton/Lewinski scandal--all but forgotten (and perhaps its important to notice, too, that that disgrace, though not quite so far long ago, has been already buried under so many others...)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lynch

    Hey Roth, I know you have a great vocabulary...Just tell me a damn story. Let me explain: I just read a very positive review of this book stating that Roth has such an expansive vocabulary, and every word seems painstakingly chosen, etc. That is exactly what I hate about this book! A narrative is supposed to flow, not make you resolve to study the dictionary more fastidiously. For the record, I have a pretty good vocabulary and I thorouoghly enjoy creative uses of the English language. But I des Hey Roth, I know you have a great vocabulary...Just tell me a damn story. Let me explain: I just read a very positive review of this book stating that Roth has such an expansive vocabulary, and every word seems painstakingly chosen, etc. That is exactly what I hate about this book! A narrative is supposed to flow, not make you resolve to study the dictionary more fastidiously. For the record, I have a pretty good vocabulary and I thorouoghly enjoy creative uses of the English language. But I despise the use of overly academic, deliberately "highbrow" language when something simple would tell the story better. The problem is NOT that I didn't understand this book, it is that the plot just does not flow at all. I really dislike this book. It looks as though this is a pretty unpopular opinion, but oh well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    Shaming Censors of Academic Speech: A Pox on the PC Police My favorite Roth novel. I will miss the lusty old tale-hound. “I'm very depressed how in this country you can be told 'That's offensive' as though those two words constitute an argument.” Christopher Hitchens Coleman Silk, a professor of classics at a local esteemed college, has been accused of racism by two African American students in one of his classes, after he notices upon calling roll that these two enrolled students never attend his Shaming Censors of Academic Speech: A Pox on the PC Police My favorite Roth novel. I will miss the lusty old tale-hound. “I'm very depressed how in this country you can be told 'That's offensive' as though those two words constitute an argument.” Christopher Hitchens Coleman Silk, a professor of classics at a local esteemed college, has been accused of racism by two African American students in one of his classes, after he notices upon calling roll that these two enrolled students never attend his class, and mumbles : "Do they exist or are they spooks?" Roth brilliantly uses the most ambiguous of words due to its several legitimate meanings compared to the one meaning racially derogatory to African Americans. Wikipedia's most comprehensive definition indicates the term's many meanings, a few of which fit the context of the professor's statement, only one of which is the racially offensive, pejorative use. The primary other use which appears to fit the context unless some evidence of a racial animus could be shown is of an apparition who is present but cannot be seen. This latter meaning is in fact its primary English meaning since its etymology revolves around various references to "ghost" or "apparition": cognate Dutch spook (“ghost"), Middle Dutch spooc (“spook, ghost"); liken German Spuk (“ghost, apparition"), Middle Low German spok (“spook"), and Norwegian spjok (“ghost, specter"). Silk says he used the word "spook" to sarcastically imply the "possibility" that the students might be attending as ghosts or spirits. That, since they did not attend class and he didn't know who they were, he could not even know their race. I won't get too sidetracked on "political correctness" run amok in this country, particularly in academia, and misused as a tool amounting to censorship, but I'll footnote excellent, reasoned quotes from a nonfiction book about the cultural revolution changing this country since the 1960s as well as two late iconoclastic hyper-intellectuals: David Foster Wallace and Christopher Hitchens.** The narrator is Roth's alter ego Nathan Zuckerman. Roth based the novel on an incident involving his friend, a professor at Princeton University. Silk resigns his post in anger and raises the stakes (and ire of campus feminists) when he starts dating an illiterate, but intelligent, female custodian who's about 30 years younger than he is (she's 34). She has a former lover who has serious "issues" arising from his stint in Vietnam. The piercing irony is in Silk's disclosure that he is an African American who's been "passing" as Jewish and white since he served in the Navy. He married a white woman and had 4 children with her. His wife recently died and he never told her or the children of his/their ancestry. Silk decided to "take the future into his own hands rather than to leave it to an unenlightened society to determine his fate." Zuckerman frames novel and retells the back story in flashbacks as conveyed to him by Silk. Against a present backdrop of the 1998 Oval Office Orgasm Scandal of former President Bill Clinton, Roth develops what I believe is his best novel, one raising trusty old questions of identity and self-invention, i.e., questions of whether one can change the past (Gatsby) or whether the past is ever even past (Faulkner in Requiem for a Nun). Two passages on these issues that I considered especially poignant were: “There is truth and then again there is truth. For all that the world is full of people who go around believing they've got you or your neighbor figured out, there really is no bottom to what is not known. The truth about us is endless. As are the lies.” “I couldn't imagine anything that could have made Coleman more of a mystery to me than this unmasking. Now that I knew everything, it was as though I knew nothing.” ____________________________________ **Footnote on Political Correctness From Roger Kimball, The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America: “As with most revolutions, the counterculture's call for total freedom quickly turned into a demand for total control. The phenomenon of 'political correctness', with its speech codes and other efforts to enforce ideological conformity, was one predictable result of this transformation. What began at the University of California at Berkeley with the Free Speech Movement (called by some the 'Filthy Speech Movement'} soon degenerated into an effort to abridge freedom by dictating what could and could not be said about any number of politically sensitive issues.” From David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays: “There's a grosser irony about Politically Correct English. This is that PCE purports to be the dialect of progressive reform but is in fact--in its Orwellian substitution of the euphemisms of social equality for social equality itself--of vast[ ] ... help to conservatives and the US status quo.... Were I, for instance, a political conservative who opposed using taxation as a means of redistributing national wealth, I would be delighted to watch PC progressives spend their time and energy arguing over whether a poor person should be described as "low-income" or "economically disadvantaged" or "pre-prosperous" rather than constructing effective public arguments for redistributive legislation or higher marginal tax rates. [...] In other words, PCE acts as a form of censorship, and censorship always serves the status quo.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed

    للحق , الأدب الأمريكي هو أقل الآداب إثارة للاهتمام بالنسبة لي , فلا يغامرني تجاهه ذلك الفضول القاتل الذي يجبرني على البحث في أعماقه , وباستثناء إدجار آلان بو , لم أجد في تاريخ ذلك الأدب من يستحق أن يمثل لي عظمة خالصة , واعترف أن العيب في ذلك مني أنا , لأني لم أقرأ فيه كفايته . ولكن هنا أجد نفسي أمام حالة شديدة الخصوصية , حالة من شأنها أن تُجبرني على الاهتمام بذلك الأدب ووضعه على رأس الأولويات , حالة تمثلت في رواية إنسانية من الطراز الرفيع , رواية قد تغير لك مزاجك الشخصي , بل قد تغير لك وجهة نظر ح للحق , الأدب الأمريكي هو أقل الآداب إثارة للاهتمام بالنسبة لي , فلا يغامرني تجاهه ذلك الفضول القاتل الذي يجبرني على البحث في أعماقه , وباستثناء إدجار آلان بو , لم أجد في تاريخ ذلك الأدب من يستحق أن يمثل لي عظمة خالصة , واعترف أن العيب في ذلك مني أنا , لأني لم أقرأ فيه كفايته . ولكن هنا أجد نفسي أمام حالة شديدة الخصوصية , حالة من شأنها أن تُجبرني على الاهتمام بذلك الأدب ووضعه على رأس الأولويات , حالة تمثلت في رواية إنسانية من الطراز الرفيع , رواية قد تغير لك مزاجك الشخصي , بل قد تغير لك وجهة نظر حيايتة مهمة . الوصمة , العار , العيب , العرف , المجتمع , كلها مفاهييم عالمية , تجدها في مختلف الثقافات و مختلف اللغات , وعانى منها ملايين البشر عبر تاريخهم الطويل , منهم من هزمه مجتمعه وعاره الشخصي , ومنهم من استطاع تجاوزه والانطلاق من جديد . نحن أمام رواية خاصة للغاية , عبر تاريخ إنسان أكثر خصوصية وأكبر غرابة , فكيف يُتهم بالعنصرية من هو في خانة المضطهدين ؟ وكيف يقاوم تلك التهمة ؟ وكيف يهرب منها ؟ وهل احتلته لحظة ضعف فوقف يائسًا أمام الحياة والدنيا عاجزًا عن مقاومتها ؟ وما الذي يدفع أستاذ أدب كلاسيكي من الطراز الرفيع لمرافقة أنثى تصغره بقرابة الاربعين عامًا ؟ وما ذلك الدافع لكي يفعل ذلك ؟ أهو دافع جسدي جنسي بحت ؟ أم هي عقد ترسبت في دخله و أخرجها متأخرًا ؟ رواية عبارة عن كتلة واحدة , كتلة انسانية فائقة الجودة , الكاتب فيها يخاطب أدق تفاصيل النفس الإنسانية , فيكشف لنا كيف نهرب من مصيرنا , ولكن مصيرنا أبدا لا يتركنا , إنه يتركنا فقط نعيش الوهم , الوهم الخاص بنا , وهم التحرر من القيود الأبدية والمتلازمات الشخصية , ليصفعنا مرة واحدة ويضعنا في فوهة البركان . بكل ما تحمله الكلمة من معنى , الرواية عظيمة , عظيمة الأحداث , عظيمة الفترة التي تتحدث عنها (أمريكا في أواخر التسعينات , أيام فضيحة مونيكا و كلينتون ) , واستطاع الكاتب ببراعة أن يضعنا في قلب الزمن الروائي , ويكشف لنا أعماق المجتمع الأمريكي و أبعاده . وصف الكاتب بديع , فعلا , وصفه لتعابير الوجه الإنساني وتفاصيله , وصفه للعلاقات الإنسانية المختلفة , سواء كانت علاقة صداقة أو حب أو زواج أو حتى علاقة جنسية دقيقة , يضعنا في عمق تلك العلاقة ليجعلنا نفهم . ترجمة النص الروائي كانت جيدة للغاية (لازم نشكر فاطمة ناعوت اللي أنا شخصيًا لا أطيقها ) لكنها مترجمة جيدة وفاهمة للنصوص ومتذوقة , مقدمتها كانت مفيدة و هوامش الترجمة أكثر من مفيدة , وفي المجمل النص المترجم يدل على عظمة النص الأصلي الفائقة .

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    The author sums it up perfectly on page 81 "You area a verbal master of extroadinary loquatiousness[P. Roth]. So Perspicatios. So fluent. A vocal master of the endless, ostentatious overelaborate sentence." Yup. This book is the Jackson Pollock of our literary time. Just spatter everything all over the page and call it art. Roth goes on and on by using every single adjective he ever learned in his SAT class, in a row, then completely counters every argument he just made, so he can use all the oppo The author sums it up perfectly on page 81 "You area a verbal master of extroadinary loquatiousness[P. Roth]. So Perspicatios. So fluent. A vocal master of the endless, ostentatious overelaborate sentence." Yup. This book is the Jackson Pollock of our literary time. Just spatter everything all over the page and call it art. Roth goes on and on by using every single adjective he ever learned in his SAT class, in a row, then completely counters every argument he just made, so he can use all the opposite words he knows. ITs OBNOXIOUS. I've read reviews about how each word seems painstakingly chosen. Its painful alright, for the reader. I don't think the author made any choices. TO choose the implies you would select one word or phrase to the exclusion of another. He uses ALL OF THEM. This guy is the master of the tripple negative (You are not so unshrewed as not to know it.. p195) but not quite as good at it as he is at using ellipses, dashes and commas to create an entire page of run on sentence that is, none the less, gramatically correct, and here the real skill- its also pointless. He makes Melville seem to the point and full of rich coloqiolism and contemporary dialect. he goes on for a full page to discuss a scene he has already earlier described about milking cows, he uses every verb and adjective that can even be remotely related to a cow, then proceeds to contradict himself (as he does often) just to put in more words, negate the meaning of the word immidiately preceeding it then relate it to sex and subjugation. ".. the human and bovine, the highly differentiated and the all but undifferentiated, to live, not merely to endure, but to live, to go on taking, feeding, milking, acknowleging wholeharetedly, the enigma that it is, the pointless meaningfulness of living- all was recorded as real by tens of thousands of minute impressions. The sensory fullness, the copiousness, the abundant- superabundant-detail of life which is the rhapsody" BULLSHIT. Pointless meaninfullness? Full, copious, abundant,and then we needed superabundant- as if his point in unclear? Well his point is unclear. This is the rhapsody? What rhapsody? I dont know if he's trying to show off, or insult me, like I dont know what the first three mean, or maybe I have to read it three, oh, wait, no 4 times to get the point. What is this? a 9th grad vocab test? You're kidding, right? how about this crap: "Stunned by how little he'd gotten over her and she'd gotten over him, he walked away understanding, as outside his reading in classical Greek drama he'd never had to understand before, how easily a life can be one thing rather than another and how accidentally a destiny is made... on the other hand, how accidental fate may seem when things can never turn out other than they do. That is, he walked away understanding nothing, knowing he could understand nothing, though with the illusion that he WOULD have metaphysically understood somthing of emormous importance about the stubborn determination of his to become his own man... if only such things were understandable." I'm pretty sure in this case the author meant to convey the character's confusion- but I'm too confused to say for sure. The author is so obnoxios, he regularly references characters from Euripides by name only - do you know anyone familiar with the characters of Euripides ancient greek plays? How about Aschenback and Tadzio? Herodotus? How about some general concepts. Most people know ethos, pathos, logos, but how about"The difference between diegesis and mimesis?" He seems to be trying to satorize his characters in the book, to make them seem obnoxious, overeducated and socially innept, secretly insecure which requires they blather on dropping names and fancy words. It works, except that its not just one or two characters. He does it constantly himself- in the authors own narration- as if his point wasnt already so obfuscated you have to go back through 2 pages, six dashes, a dozen commas, a hanful of ellipses to find where the sentence begins and remember what he was talking about.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Here's what I know: if a book features some old dude fucking some younger lady, check the author's age. 100% of the time, he's the same age as the old dude. The younger woman will be vulnerable. She will be attracted to the older man's security and wisdom. There is a power imbalance, and it's basically the same thing as when Tarzan saves Jane from the lion. It's embarrassing, immature wish-fulfillment. And even when it's written very well, it's boring. This book is occasionally written very well, Here's what I know: if a book features some old dude fucking some younger lady, check the author's age. 100% of the time, he's the same age as the old dude. The younger woman will be vulnerable. She will be attracted to the older man's security and wisdom. There is a power imbalance, and it's basically the same thing as when Tarzan saves Jane from the lion. It's embarrassing, immature wish-fulfillment. And even when it's written very well, it's boring. This book is occasionally written very well, but it also has the young lady dancing naked for like 20 pages while she babbles about free love. "Oh, I see you, Coleman. I could give you away my whole life and still have you. Just by dancing." Good luck getting through that bullshit. It suuuucks. And you've heard this story before. Old guys complain that no one wants to read old guy authors. It's not because we're "politically correct." It's because old men can't shut up about their penises, and it's boring. The entire canon, as it was agreed on at some point by a bunch of old guys and their penises, is full of stories like this. Coleman Silk, the protagonist of The Human Stain, is one of those old guys. He's the worst kind of college professor: the kind who tells you how to read a book. "Fossilized pedagogy," as a character we're not supposed to agree with calls it. Fuck you, it's my fucking book, I'll decide how to read it. If I decide to take "a feminist perspective on Euripides," then that's what happens. Euripides can take care of himself. Silk is also of African-American descent; he's been "passing" as white his entire life. Ironically, he's disgraced by an unfortunately timed use of the word "spook." This is the one-sentence plot of the book: guy accused of racism is secretly black. It sounds interesting, but the problem is that Philip Roth thinks it's a metaphor. He thinks it's a metaphor because he keeps getting accused of being an asshole. All his life, people have called Philip Roth all sorts of names. Misogynist, even anti-Semite. (Roth is Jewish.) He keeps getting accused of believing what his characters say. It's not me, he complains. "The thought of the novelist lies not in the remarks of his characters or even in their introspection," he insists, "but in the plight he has invented for his characters." Well, quite. The plight he has invented here is a young lady's vagina. Of course Philip Roth isn't Coleman Silk. He's his pimp.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ilenia Zodiaco

    Ho da pochi minuti terminato la lettura de “La macchia umana” di Philip Roth. Ci sono quei libri che si insinuano all’interno del tuo consolidato nido di credenze, idee, saperi, pregiudizi, convinzioni - che hai fortificato con fatica e scrupolosa dedizione in vent’anni di scuola, vita familiare, cadute e ripartenze sentimentali - e sai già che non c’è più nulla da fare. Arrivano per scombussolare tutto, tocca ricostruire il castello di carta della tua identità da capo. Sono libri alteri, sdegno Ho da pochi minuti terminato la lettura de “La macchia umana” di Philip Roth. Ci sono quei libri che si insinuano all’interno del tuo consolidato nido di credenze, idee, saperi, pregiudizi, convinzioni - che hai fortificato con fatica e scrupolosa dedizione in vent’anni di scuola, vita familiare, cadute e ripartenze sentimentali - e sai già che non c’è più nulla da fare. Arrivano per scombussolare tutto, tocca ricostruire il castello di carta della tua identità da capo. Sono libri alteri, sdegnosi. Non smetterai mai di consigliarli, di parlarne, di instaurare confronti e soprattutto li rileggerai. Probabilmente subito dopo averli terminati, li ricomincerai. Questo è il destino fortunato di libri come “La macchia umana”. Il mio primo Roth. Considerato uno dei più grandi scrittori viventi, vittima felice del totoNobel praticamente ogni anno, scatenato, chiacchieratissimo Roth. Ho sempre nutrito un timore reverenziale (vi rassicuro: non c’è ragione) verso queste figure della letteratura. Acquistano un’aria familiare, il loro nome - dappertutto letto, dappertutto udito - diventa quasi una sagoma. Roth, in particolare, con le sue consonanti finali, due arroganti fricative dentali, me lo immagino sempre con una giacca di lana cotta, modello coloniale, con le sopracciglia aggrottate, propenso verso di me come un grosso rapace ma dallo sguardo ironico. Si dia il caso che l’autore Roth sembri (e badate, sembrare è un verbo spietato) rassomigliare straordinariamente ai personaggi che raffigura. Vi avverto, prima di scrivere non ho cercato informazioni biografiche, né recensioni né alcun tipo di materiale a supporto di questa tesi. Semplicemente sembra così. Da lettrice, vedo che Coleman Silk è simile al suo artefice e l’autore si limita, come dire, a quest’opera di svelamento e occultamento continuo dello specchio. è così vicino, così vicino all’essenza del personaggio che dev’essere lui. Sappiamo che lo scrittore deve essere un abilissimo fingitore ma siccome io non credo ad un’abilità portentosa nel dissimulare che sia completamente disinteressata, devo pensare che il demone a cui risponde il signor Roth sia di natura personale. Non esiste che si vada così a fondo ad un personaggio senza che ci sia qualcosa di tuo. E tutta quella storia sulla necessità del testimone - perché il resoconto della faccenda qui ci viene fornito dallo scrittore Nathan Zuckerman - è una grossa panzana e qui si sta parlando di un meraviglioso alter ego. Anzi di due: Nathan Zuckerman, narratore degli eventi, e il coetaneo Coleman Silk, nella parte del povero viveur. La testimone unica è la scrittura. L’autore per proteggersi deve inventarsi delle maschere ma sappiamo tutti che razza di narcisi egocentrici siano, con noi non attacca. D’altra parte, non credo che lavorando di fantasia il signor Roth sarebbe stato in grado di arrivare a tali vette di autenticità. Il protagonista dunque è una personalità formidabile e così il suo creatore. Ora possiamo addentrarci nel fitto della foresta nera. Continua qui http://conamoreesquallore.blogspot.it...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    A masterfully architected tale about race, shame, violence, and remembrance, The Human Stain is definitely one of Roth's masterpieces. From its first pages, the reader is drawn into the mystery of Coleman "Silky" Silk né Silkzweig and his tragic downfall. The characters here are vibrant and real, the descriptions terrifying at times but always captivating, I found it hard putting this book down as I was relentlessly driven to want to know what happened - the mark of truly great writing. If you h A masterfully architected tale about race, shame, violence, and remembrance, The Human Stain is definitely one of Roth's masterpieces. From its first pages, the reader is drawn into the mystery of Coleman "Silky" Silk né Silkzweig and his tragic downfall. The characters here are vibrant and real, the descriptions terrifying at times but always captivating, I found it hard putting this book down as I was relentlessly driven to want to know what happened - the mark of truly great writing. If you have never read Roth, you can safely start with this one or American Pastoral and you will definitely want more. I just watched the movie from 2003 starring Anthony Hopkins as Coleman, Nicole Kidman as Faunia, Gary Sinise as Zuckerman and Ed Harris as Les. It is a wonderful and accurate rendition of the book for the silver screen. It can be watched before or after reading the book, but I would suggest reading the book first.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “The danger with hatred is, once you start in on it, you get a hundred times more than you bargained for. Once you start, you can't stop.” ― Philip Roth, The Human Stain Reading Roth is almost a spooky, sexual experience. I say that knowing this will sound absurd, trite and probably hyperbolic. But with Roth, his words are imbued with an almost carnal power, a spectral courage, energy and life. IT is like watching an absurdly talented musician do things with an instrument/with sound that bends th “The danger with hatred is, once you start in on it, you get a hundred times more than you bargained for. Once you start, you can't stop.” ― Philip Roth, The Human Stain Reading Roth is almost a spooky, sexual experience. I say that knowing this will sound absurd, trite and probably hyperbolic. But with Roth, his words are imbued with an almost carnal power, a spectral courage, energy and life. IT is like watching an absurdly talented musician do things with an instrument/with sound that bends the edge of possible. Reading Roth, I can understand how the audience in Paganini's time wanted to burn the man for witchcraft, feared the man for his deal with the Devil. I'm not sure who Roth sold his soul to, but Roth's run of Novels: Operation Shylock (1993) Sabbath's Theater (1995) >> American Pastoral (1997) >> I Married a Communist (1998) >> The Human Stain (2000) can only be thought of as the greatest run of novels produced by ANY writer at anytime. Maybe Shakespeare had a better run. Maybe Proust. Maybe. For me, these five novels, ending with The Human Stain are the apex of 20th Century writing. Spooky.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cosimo

    Spettri! “Noi lasciamo una macchia, lasciamo una traccia, lasciamo la nostra impronta. Impurità, crudeltà, abuso, errore, escremento, seme: non c’è altro mezzo per essere qui”. La vita è costruita su una segreta bugia. Così di una trama di finzione noi vediamo una macchia, un'impronta, un'impurità; e tutto è errore, crudeltà, inganno, scommessa, fascino, decisione, ultimo canto. Sdegno e rispetto nascondono spirito ostile e vendicativo, tra le braccia delle antiche tradizioni e di legami convenzio Spettri! “Noi lasciamo una macchia, lasciamo una traccia, lasciamo la nostra impronta. Impurità, crudeltà, abuso, errore, escremento, seme: non c’è altro mezzo per essere qui”. La vita è costruita su una segreta bugia. Così di una trama di finzione noi vediamo una macchia, un'impronta, un'impurità; e tutto è errore, crudeltà, inganno, scommessa, fascino, decisione, ultimo canto. Sdegno e rispetto nascondono spirito ostile e vendicativo, tra le braccia delle antiche tradizioni e di legami convenzionali e materiali. Ipocrisia e violenza coprono di indifferenza e insensatezza le persone che pensano di non temerne la potenza distruttrice. Il protagonista di Roth adora donne diverse e disordinate, sensuali nella loro colpa, emozionanti in quanto irregolari. Roth cerca un disegno nello squilibrio, e percorre sentieri inaspettati e inconciliabili: così l'istinto alla purezza si realizza solo nella difformità, l'inconsistenza di ogni convinzione è messa costantemente alla prova dei fatti, dei corpi, della natura. Coleman e Faunia si illudono di essere irripetibili, ma il contesto sociale intorno impone loro una volontà rituale e implacabile. La passione evolve in complicità animalesca e volontà disorganica, in onde di sentimenti morbosi, in atteggiamenti delittuosi, trasformando un passato tormentato in un destino disperato. Ma il pregiudizio è una forma di conoscenza che spinge la moralità ad approfittarsi di ogni debolezza, fragilità e contraddizione. Così la dimensione tragica si rivela in tutta la sua profondità, portando il lettore a rinnegare se stesso e la più intima identità, senza essersi accorto di aver attraversato numerosi confini e di aver ritrovato dentro le pagine un impulso incredulo e ancestrale. Quello alla felicità. “È in ognuno di noi. Insita. Inerente. Qualificante. La macchia che esiste prima del segno. Che esiste senza il segno. La macchia così intrinseca non richiede un segno. La macchia che precede la disobbedienza, che comprende la disobbedienza e frusta ogni spiegazione e ogni comprensione”.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    I read Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus and Portnoy’s Complaint in college, and loved them. They were funny, especially in depicting the lusts and lives of young men, with literary flair. But I didn’t read him again for no particular reason until relatively recently. I read the non-fiction Patrimony, about his relationship with his father, and The Plot Against America, a dark fantasy about a possible past where we choose a fascist dictator in the thirties instead of FDR. And now having completed his Nat I read Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus and Portnoy’s Complaint in college, and loved them. They were funny, especially in depicting the lusts and lives of young men, with literary flair. But I didn’t read him again for no particular reason until relatively recently. I read the non-fiction Patrimony, about his relationship with his father, and The Plot Against America, a dark fantasy about a possible past where we choose a fascist dictator in the thirties instead of FDR. And now having completed his Nathan Zuckerman trilogy, beginning with the much-acknowledged masterpiece, American Pastoral, which I loved, and I Married a Communist, which I also came to like very much, I see the greatness of this trilogy, like The Plot, has to do with its attention to the sweep of twentieth century American history, with some central social issues of that period examined in the context of often deeply flawed characters. It’s also about Roth’s use of language, at once visceral and muscular and startlingly honest in places, and more often than not lyrical at the same time. And talk. All the characters talk (or think like they're talking) in grand, sometimes manic, fashion. Epic verbal sparring and reflection. The Human Stain took its time for me to warm up to, but ended with me shouting hurrah as it concluded. It’s the story of three interlocking tragic stories: New England Athena College Classics professor and Dean Coleman Silk, who is forced out of his job at age 69 for supposed racist comments about two students; his 34 year old girlfriend Faunia Farley whom he takes up with after his wife dies of complications from a stroke, and her ex, a PTSD-riddled Vietnam vet, each of them finally at least somewhat understandable if not completely sympathetic, but morally culpable and doomed by their own terrible mistakes. It’s primarily the story of Silk, and his secrets and lies, but especially of one central secret which led to terrible mistakes he made in the context of America’s racial past (and present). The legacies of racism and war are at the heart of this book, how you can never really get free of them. You do some bad things and you pay and pay for them, no matter what good you may do. The inciting impulse for the novel, set in 1998, (but only part of its motivation, finally) is the Clinton Impeachment trial, and on one level the book is an examination of all that sexual sanctimony through the lens of secrets and lies and the rest of us speculating about all public scandals as most of us typically do: Are they really "doing it"? What positions do they use?! Who's using whom? “It was the summer in America when the nausea returned, when the joking didn't stop, when the speculation and the theorizing and the hyperbole didn't stop.”—Roth on the Clinton impeachment trial, which became of national interest, but also Silk’s affair with Faunia, which becomes a small town scandal that same summer. This book can make you uncomfortable. When Zuckerman and Silk joke crudely about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, it’s funny, but there are no filters here. No filters, either, when the damaged and abusive Farley threatens to explode about the “draft dodger” “slick Willie” getting off free when so many Vets died in the jungle so he could get what he got from more than just Monica Lewinsky. These are all deeply flawed, screwed-up people, but they are never uninteresting. The two men are driven by rage, by hatred, for what has happened to them (Silk is pushed out of his position on the faculty because of something he said that people mistakenly assume is racist, and during this period his wife has a stroke and dies, so he is enraged about all that; Fawley is angry and bitter about his experiences in Nam): “The danger with hatred is, once you start in on it, you get a hundred times more than you bargained for. Once you start, you can't stop.”--Roth This book is not just about "gossip" about who's doing whom, sexually, though. It's also about racial secrets. Does that white guy look a little bit black? Could he be "passing" for white? If so, what are we going to do about that??! Because we need these classifications for some reason, it seems. And what if you were "technically black," but looked white; would you choose to say you were black to be true to that legacy or would you say you were white so you could more easily achieve "the American Dream"? When I was done I thought that Zuckerman was to Silk as Nick Carraway is to Gatsby, albeit a cruder, more visceral Nick/Gatsby combo. Here Zuckerman speaks of what he imagines to be Silk’s goal: “To become a new being. To bifurcate. The drama that underlies America's story, the high drama that is upping and leaving-and the energy and cruelty that rapturous drive demands.” Sounds a little like Gatsby, right? The stories we read of Silk and Faunia and Fawley are stories told by writer Zuckerman, so we (meta-fictionally) see in this story and reflect on the way any novelist’s imagination can work its magic. But Zuckerman makes it clear that neither the novelist nor any of his readers, when we are done with this story, will have any really deep insights into human nature beyond this: “There is truth and then again there is truth. For all that the world is full of people who go around believing they've got you or your neighbor figured out, there really is no bottom to what is not known. The truth about us is endless. As are the lies.”—Roth Zuckerman and Roth as novelists are not preachers, they are not social scientists; they only have their imaginations, and hunches; they can describe these fascinating, screwed-up people, and they can hypothesize, but they make it clear we’re all unknowable at some deep level. Even when he finds out all he can know to inform his telling of Silk’s story, the novel he writes, The Human Stain, Zuckerman says: “Now that I know everything, it was though I knew nothing.”—Roth I highly recommend this book. You don’t need to need the first two to read this one, but the whole trilogy is great if you want to put it on your tbr list!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    So I watched the movie, and I really shouldn't have. To quote Pope Pius VII, it sometimes makes you wonder if you're on the right planet. Anthony Hopkins plays an extremely white black man! And the ever-crushingly beautiful Nicole Kidman plays an illiterate woman who's a janitor! Yes! And we're supposed to take this seriously! And the actor who plays the young Anthony Hopkins looks absolutely nothing like him! It's so insane. I believe they take a lot of drugs in Hollywood, and this movie appear So I watched the movie, and I really shouldn't have. To quote Pope Pius VII, it sometimes makes you wonder if you're on the right planet. Anthony Hopkins plays an extremely white black man! And the ever-crushingly beautiful Nicole Kidman plays an illiterate woman who's a janitor! Yes! And we're supposed to take this seriously! And the actor who plays the young Anthony Hopkins looks absolutely nothing like him! It's so insane. I believe they take a lot of drugs in Hollywood, and this movie appears to prove it. Some of the loonyness belongs to Philip Roth of course. Because the story has the crashingly beautiful even though desperately dressing down Nicole take a shine to the 70-if-he's-a-day Anthony and wants to shag him a lot! And this is the same wish fulfillment fantasy that Philip Roth keeps on writing about in all his late books! Over and over again! This would be funny if it weren't for the many rothophiles running about telling us that he's the greatest living writer of prose and will soon be the greatest dead one too. Ugh. Okay, I admit, the book MUST must must must be better than this wretched loony movie but I will never find out. I got Rothed to death years ago.* This Human Stain movie, it was just a one time thing. It meant nothing. I swear I'll never see it again. Hey, maybe when I'm real old and creepy I'll turn into this giant Rothfan and reread all this stuff and be yelling "yeah, stick it to her one more time, substitute-Rothman, you know she's gagging for your 70 year old flesh". Ew. TO RECAP : this is a black man this is a cleaning lady I understand the team who made The Human Stain will be producing a biopic on Philip Roth shortly and that the challenging role of Philip Roth, which requires the actor to age from 20 to 70 has gone to [image error] * er... not quite - I did subsequently read Nemesis and since it wasn't anything to do with shagging it was really pretty good, in a Larry David way : "pretty...pretty...pretty good".

  15. 5 out of 5

    Skorofido Skorofido

    Δεν είναι κρυφό πλέον πως δεν τα πηγαίνω και πάρα πολύ καλά με τους συγγραφείς από την άλλη πλευρά του Ατλαντικού. Τα χνώτα μας δεν πολυταιριάζουν και συνήθως βγάζω σπυράκια… όμως επειδή τώρα στα γεράματα, βάλθηκα πέρα από την ευρωπαϊκή μου παιδεία να αποκτήσω και ολίγον αμερικανική (για να είμαι σκορόφιδον κοσμοπολίτικον και παντός καιρού), συνεχίζω ακάθεκτο τις βουτιές μου στα αμερικανικά γράμματα… Και ευτυχώς για μένα… γιατί ανακάλυψα τον Ροθ και ομολογώ πως οι δυο μας τα βρήκαμε μια χαρά… Το Δεν είναι κρυφό πλέον πως δεν τα πηγαίνω και πάρα πολύ καλά με τους συγγραφείς από την άλλη πλευρά του Ατλαντικού. Τα χνώτα μας δεν πολυταιριάζουν και συνήθως βγάζω σπυράκια… όμως επειδή τώρα στα γεράματα, βάλθηκα πέρα από την ευρωπαϊκή μου παιδεία να αποκτήσω και ολίγον αμερικανική (για να είμαι σκορόφιδον κοσμοπολίτικον και παντός καιρού), συνεχίζω ακάθεκτο τις βουτιές μου στα αμερικανικά γράμματα… Και ευτυχώς για μένα… γιατί ανακάλυψα τον Ροθ και ομολογώ πως οι δυο μας τα βρήκαμε μια χαρά… Τουλάχιστον εγώ μαζί του… Αν και όταν τρελαίνομαι με κάποιο βιβλίο, η υπόθεση περνάει όχι στη δεύτερη αλλά σε τρίτη και τέταρτη μοίρα, ολίγα λόγια για το story: Ο Κόλμαν Σίλκ είναι καθηγητής, πρώην κοσμήτορας ενός μικρού αμερικάνικου πανεπιστημίου, ευυπόληπτος και αμέμπτου ηθικής… Σε ένα μάθημά του, θα κάνει το «τραγικό» λάθος να κάνει την ερώτηση εάν δύο φοιτητές που δεν έχουν εμφανιστεί ποτέ στο μάθημά του είναι ‘spookies’… Η λέξη ‘spooky’ όμως στην αγγλική γλώσσα έχει διπλή σημασία… «φάντασμα» και «μαύρος»… Ο καθηγητής την είπε με την πρώτη, κάποιοι καλοθελητές την πήραν με τη δεύτερη… Αποτέλεσμα ο Σιλκ ‘διώκεται’ από την έδρα του, του κολλάει μια ‘ρετσινιά’ (νάτο λοιπόν ένα από τα στίγματα), το βάρος μεγάλο, η γυναίκα του πεθαίνει… Αφού περνάει δυο χρόνια μέσα στη μαύρη κατάθλιψη και την πικρή οργή, ο καθηγητής μια ωραία πρωία τα αφήνει όλα πίσω του, χάρη στην αγκαλιά (και όχι μόνο…) μιας 34/χρονης αναλφάβητης καθαρίστριας (ο ίδιος είναι ήδη 71 χρόνων…) κι αρχίζουν κι άλλα ωραία, κατά πόσο είναι ηθική μια τέτοια σχέση… και πολλά – πολλά άλλα… Την λάτρεψα τη γραφή του Ροθ… Με απογείωσε… Η ψυχογράφηση των ηρώων του είναι μοναδική… Θίγει τόσα πολλά θέματα αριστοτεχνικά, σου δίνει τροφή για σκέψη, σε απογειώνει… Η ιστορία δεν έχει πλέον καμία σημασία… σημασία έχει όλα αυτά που μπορεί να πάρει ο αναγνώστης… Υποκλίνομαι στην ψυχογράφηση του Λες (τέως άντρα της Φιόνα, της καθαρίστριας), βετεράνου του πολέμου του Βιετνάμ… Τον συμπόνεσα και τον κατάλαβα, αχ! Τι ψυχοπονιάρικο φίδι που είμαι!!! (ασχέτως αν συμφωνώ με τις πράξεις του…) Τι Αποκάλυψη Τώρα, τι Platoon και American Full metal jacket… (εντάξει καταλάβατε την ηλικία μου…) Υποκλίνομαι στην ψυχογράφηση της Ντελφίν Ρου (της γαλλίδας προέδρου του τμήματος), αν και μου άφησε κάποια κενά στο τέλος… Εβραίοι της Αμερικής, φυλετικές διακρίσεις, σχέσεις μη αποδεκτές από την κοινωνία, δεσμοί αίματος, τα εσωτερικά των πανεπιστημίων, προσωπικές φιλοδοξίες, εσωτερικές συγκρούσεις και άλλα πολλά δένουν αρμονικά σ’αυτό το βιβλίο… Και όλα αυτά… με ένα μυστικό που βαραίνει την πλάτη του Κόλμαν (του ήρωα μας) και εν τέλει όλη την οικογένεια του, την περίοδο που η Αμερική και όλος ο πλανήτης έχει πάθει φρενίτιδα με το σκάνδαλο Λιουίνσκι και που ακριβώς ο Πρόεδρος Κλίντον έριξε το πολυπόθητο σπέρμα του… ΥΠΟΚΛΙΝΟΜΑΙ λοιπόν στον μεγαλύτερο εν ζωή Αμερικανό συγγραφέα (τουλάχιστον έτσι τον αποκαλούν οι γνώστες…) που έχει πάρει όλα τα βραβεία, εκτός από το Νόμπελ… (έχει καιρό ακόμα… you never know!) Εντάξει, έξυπνοι είσαστε… καταλάβατε τι βαθμό θα βάλω… 10/10 (ασυζητητί…)

  16. 5 out of 5

    فهد الفهد

    الوصمة البشرية عرفت فيليب روث في (سخط)، ولكني تعرفت عليه حقاً هنا، في هذه الرواية المذهلة التي ستهزك من الأعماق، وستلتقي خلالها بشخصية من أعظم الشخصيات التي أنجبها الأدب، (كولمن سيلك) الزنجي الذي تنكر لأصوله ولعائلته، وعاش حياته كلها كرجل أبيض، أبيض إلى درجة أنه ويا للسخرية يستقيل في أواخر عمره من الجامعة بعد اتهامه بالعنصرية، وضد من !!! ضد طالبين زنجيين !! أمريكا 1998 م، أنظار كل الأمريكيين متجهة نحو البيت الأبيض، فضيحة مونيكا لوينسكي تهز كرسي الرئيس، وفي جامعة أثينا يسقط كرسي الدكتور المحترم ك الوصمة البشرية عرفت فيليب روث في (سخط)، ولكني تعرفت عليه حقاً هنا، في هذه الرواية المذهلة التي ستهزك من الأعماق، وستلتقي خلالها بشخصية من أعظم الشخصيات التي أنجبها الأدب، (كولمن سيلك) الزنجي الذي تنكر لأصوله ولعائلته، وعاش حياته كلها كرجل أبيض، أبيض إلى درجة أنه ويا للسخرية يستقيل في أواخر عمره من الجامعة بعد اتهامه بالعنصرية، وضد من !!! ضد طالبين زنجيين !! أمريكا 1998 م، أنظار كل الأمريكيين متجهة نحو البيت الأبيض، فضيحة مونيكا لوينسكي تهز كرسي الرئيس، وفي جامعة أثينا يسقط كرسي الدكتور المحترم كولمن سيلك، بعد تلفظه بكلمة صغيرة تتحمل معنيين أحدهما عنصري، هكذا يجد نفسه أمام اتهامات عنصرية، يواجهها بغضب وعنف، وخلال سنتين من الصراع تموت زوجته، فيلجأ بعد جنازتها إلى راوي القصة ناثان زوكرمان – استخدم فيليب روث هذه الشخصية في روايتين أخريين، اعتبرتا مع الوصمة البشرية ثلاثية -، وهو مؤلف يطالبه كولمن بتأليف كتاب عن حياته، وما تعرض له، هكذا... تنفتح البوابات لنا، نتعرف على ماضي كولمن سيلك وحقيقة أنه من أصول زنجية، نتعرف على والده وعائلته، نتعرف على حياته العاطفية التي تنتهي بفونيا فيرلي، المرأة التي يقيم معها علاقة عاطفية، رغم أنها في نصف عمره، ورغم أنها عاملة كادحة، في مقابله هو الأستاذ الجامعي والمثقف. الرواية تضج بشخصيات حية، يعتني بها روث جيداً، ويعرض لنا حيواتها بسخاء، من كولمن سيلك، إلى غريمته الفرنسية دولفين روكس، إلى فونيا فيرلي العشيقة المضطربة، وزوجها الجندي السابق لس فيرلي – والذي عاد من فيتنام معطوباً ذهنياً وعاطفياً -، كل هذه الشخصيات يكتبها روث بعناية، ويبرز لنا تطوراتها الفكرية والعاطفية بشكل متداخل ومبهر سردياً. أسلوب روث السردي هو ما أبهرني حقيقة، كل هذا التداخل بين كولمن وماضيه، ودولفين وحياتها الباريسية، وفونيا وعذاباتها، ولس وجنونه، هذا غير الفضيحة الكبيرة في البيت الأبيض، كل هذا يكتبه روث بلا لحظة تردد، بلا ترهل رغم الصفحات الـ 648 – طبعة سلسلة الجوائز الكئيبة جداً -.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aprile

    Roth scrive, si commenta, “si chiosa”, fa tutto da solo. Il lettore non può far altro che annuire più o meno vigorosamente. Lo definirei un ingegnere preciso e calcolatore, pronto a prevedere qualsiasi variante, qualsiasi obiezione alla sua costruzione. E’ sufficiente inoltrarsi nella lettura e tutte le risposte vengono date, i dubbi dissipati. Se si ama la scrittura di getto, spontanea, non si legga Roth, o meglio, Roth è spontaneo nella sua precisione. Nulla è scritto gratuitamente. Da ciò la Roth scrive, si commenta, “si chiosa”, fa tutto da solo. Il lettore non può far altro che annuire più o meno vigorosamente. Lo definirei un ingegnere preciso e calcolatore, pronto a prevedere qualsiasi variante, qualsiasi obiezione alla sua costruzione. E’ sufficiente inoltrarsi nella lettura e tutte le risposte vengono date, i dubbi dissipati. Se si ama la scrittura di getto, spontanea, non si legga Roth, o meglio, Roth è spontaneo nella sua precisione. Nulla è scritto gratuitamente. Da ciò la sua grande serietà di scrittore, con qualche traccia (piccola, piccola) di pedanteria. E’ un professore dalla cui cattedra traccia la difficile linea di separazione tra consentibile (a se stessi e agli altri) e non consentibile (a se stessi e agli altri), linea che spesso si spezza, che disegna grandi curve, che aggira gli ostacoli, che si interrompe e poi riprende, che si inerpica e poi corre in discesa. Ritengo, quindi, di non poter commentare alcunché ma solo appuntare due post it per la mia memoria su due argomenti che mi stanno a cuore, provincialismo - e non necessariamente geografico - e mediocrità diffusa, e anche in questa occasione è Roth a scriverli, a pag. 314: “Il Diavolo della Piccola Città: i pettegolezzi, le gelosie, l’acrimonia, la noia, le bugie. No, i veleni provinciali non aiutano. Qui la gente si annoia, è invidiosa, la sua vita è quella che è e quella che sempre sarà, e così, senza dubitare seriamente della storia, la riferisce: al telefono, per la strada, in mensa, in aula. La riferiscono, a casa, ai mariti e alle mogli.” E poi, per voce di Ernestine, coscienza nera e lucida di Silk, a pag. 355: “Oggi lo studente sbandiera la sua incapacità come se fosse un privilegio. Non riesco a impararlo, dunque dev’esserci qualcosa di sbagliato. E qualcosa di particolarmente sbagliato deve avere l’insegnante cattivo che pretende di insegnarlo.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Simona

    "Tutti sanno- è l'invocazione del cliché e l'inizio della banalizzazione dell'esperienza, e sono proprio la solennità e la presunta autorevolezza con cui la gente formula il cliché a riuscire così insopportabili. Ciò che noi sappiamo è che, in un modo non stereotipato, nessuno sa nulla. Non puoi sapere nulla. Le cose che sai... non le sai. Intenzioni? Motivi? Conseguenze? Significati? Tutto ciò che non sappiamo è stupefacente. Ancora più stupefacente è quello che crediamo di sapere". Ci sono macc "Tutti sanno- è l'invocazione del cliché e l'inizio della banalizzazione dell'esperienza, e sono proprio la solennità e la presunta autorevolezza con cui la gente formula il cliché a riuscire così insopportabili. Ciò che noi sappiamo è che, in un modo non stereotipato, nessuno sa nulla. Non puoi sapere nulla. Le cose che sai... non le sai. Intenzioni? Motivi? Conseguenze? Significati? Tutto ciò che non sappiamo è stupefacente. Ancora più stupefacente è quello che crediamo di sapere". Ci sono macchie indelebili, difficili e il protagonista di questo romanzo sa bene quali macchie hanno contraddistinto la sua vita. Con l'alter ego di Nathan Zuckerman con il quale i suoi lettori hanno imparato a conoscerlo, Roth ci trascina nel mondo di Coleman Silk, un professore stimato e apprezzato, ma prigioniero dei suoi errori e delle sue "macchie". Con acume, intelligenza e la solita maestria che lo contraddistingue, Philip Roth ci guida alla scoperta del paradosso e dell'ambivalenza e di quanto le parole, la menzogna possa fare male e ferire rovinando non solo la propria vita, ma anche quella degli altri. Insomma, la vita al limite di un uomo che deve ricominciare cercando di correggere la sua vita. L'ennesimo capolavoro di un grande autore.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fatema Hassan , bahrain

    رواية الوصمة البشرية لفيليب روث - صناعة أمريكية بيتية الصنع ب إمتياز - كسرت النموذج السامي و الموحد للرواية المثالية في نظري، ففي بطن ال٦٥٠ صفحة هذه، يوجد أكثر من حبكة تحرك الأحداث والشخصيات و لكن الأهم لكسر النموذج وسلطته التي تهيمن منذ مدة على جميع الروايات.. أن تكون هنالك حبكة تسيطر ليس فقط على هذه الرواية بل على جميع روايات روث، محرك خارجي ومستقل، قد يسميها روث بمفتاحه المربك وله كل الحق بهذه التسمية فلقد صمم ( كوبليه أدبي ) ، ففي شخص الراوي ناثان زوكرمان الذي يلازم روايات روث و يحافظ هنا عل رواية الوصمة البشرية لفيليب روث - صناعة أمريكية بيتية الصنع ب إمتياز - كسرت النموذج السامي و الموحد للرواية المثالية في نظري، ففي بطن ال٦٥٠ صفحة هذه، يوجد أكثر من حبكة تحرك الأحداث والشخصيات و لكن الأهم لكسر النموذج وسلطته التي تهيمن منذ مدة على جميع الروايات.. أن تكون هنالك حبكة تسيطر ليس فقط على هذه الرواية بل على جميع روايات روث، محرك خارجي ومستقل، قد يسميها روث بمفتاحه المربك وله كل الحق بهذه التسمية فلقد صمم ( كوبليه أدبي ) ، ففي شخص الراوي ناثان زوكرمان الذي يلازم روايات روث و يحافظ هنا على مستوى السارد الأول للنص ولكنه غير أمين البتة فبمقدوره قدح زناد أوهامه و معالجة قضاياه و بث وجهات نظره المغضنة في مجريات الأحداث دون ان تتعرف على صوته أو تشك بنواياه،صوت قاتل بهمس كالشائعة المغرضة توجيه تركيز الناس لعكس العجز الحقيقي الذي سبب الأزمة، وهذا على ما يبدو لا يحدث هنا فقط بل يحدث في أكثر من رواية لروث ، تبدأ الحكاية حين يلجأ كولمن سيلك عميد الأدب السابق بألمه المعنوي الحاد.. لناثان الجار الذي ربما لم يلحظ وجوده من قبل و سيستمتع بحلاوة التواصل مع هذه العقلية النموذجية لأول مرة ، ليكتب قصته المؤلمة و المثالية وفق النموذج الأمريكي ( أستاذ كلاسيكيات الناجح الذي يعاني من خذلان محيطه له لما هو مجبول عليه من استقامة / الذكر الأبيض اليهودي/ رب الأسرة العادي جدًا / يقع في هفوة لفظية تفتح عليه ابواب النار ) لفظ مزدوج المعنى بين لفظتي شبح و زنجي ( spooks) ذو دلالة عنصرية يدمر مسيرته المهنية فتموت زوجته كمدًا و يلقي أولاده اللوم عليه وينبذونه على مستويات متفاوتة ، يلجأ لهذا الجار الذي يعلم أن الشائعة غواية من نوع آخر، فمن ستقتله شائعة؟ يصغي ناثان لهموم وغراميات كولمن ويرقص معه و يتلصص عليه إن اقتضى الأمر ، ليخرج من خلال صداقتهما للنور عالم مجهول لا يمت للنموذجية بصلة ! و كل ما بين يدي كولمن لم يكن ليخسره فما بين يداه ليس له في الأساس ! الرجل زنجي سابق / ليس كأن تقول الرجل جندي سابق / وهذا منطقي أكثر .. فكيف لأحد ألا يعرف بأمر عِرقه الزنجي وكأنه شيء بمقدور أحد إخفاؤه!وكيف لا يكون ذلك أسهل بين يديه وسيلة لإصلاح ما كُسر في مسيرته المهنية و درء التهمة عنه، وليس هذا فقط بل سيؤسس كولمن أسرة دون أن تعلم الزوجة والأولاد بالأمر؟ ناثان سيكشف قضايا كولمن بطريقة مريعة أكثر من الواقع فالزوج المخلص الذي اختار الزوجة المثقفة سنجده عشيق لفونيا المرأة الجاهلة التي تحلب الأبقار وتنظف أروقة الكلية على نقيض الزوجة ذات العلم وًالوعي السياسي .. و الإنسان المتزن سيتحول بين يدي ناثان لآخر أرعن و أخرق ، في الخارج من كوخ كولمن ومن موقف المتلصص لا تقل خطورة الصديق الذي فقد صديق يشكو له عن محارب قديم فقد زوجته التي يتمنى موتها وهي بين أحضان عشيقها اليهودي ، كيف لا وقد تسببت بعلاقاتها الجنسية المشبوهة بخسارته لأولاده في حريق مريع ، فجأة وبعد الامتعاض الذي يتآكل كولمن وجلوسه لأشهر وهو يدون مآسي فقده لمهنته و زوجته و ثقة أبنائه .. يتشافى كولمن وينتعش ليبدأ غراميات جديدة و يترك ناثان دون قصة- حرفيًا - خالي اليدين من أي ذريعة للكتابة .. لذلك يبدأ ناثان بروايته حول كولمن وهنا لن تفرق بين الحقيقة و الخيال المختلق و ستكون تحت رحمة يدي روث وناثاناه هذا فلا داعي للتبرم ، فكل الاحتمالات جميلة و إذا لمحت ناثان هذا في نصوص أخرى لروث فأحذره . هل نحن نحافظ على مالدينا من أسرار عبر إطلاق شائعات مغلوطة حولنا و حول أعمالنا لنخلق هالة ناجحة ومثيرة للجدل تخصها ؟ الشائعة هل هي هوية أو تساهم في صنعها على أقل تقدير؟ فضيحة بيل و مونيكا بقلم روث كانت مربكة وًكارثة استنتاجية حول تلميحاته ! المنصب الذي صعد له كلينتون بتاريخه الفضائحي المخفي خسره بضمّة على العلن كان في غنى عنها وكان الأقدر على تحاشي عواقبها الوخيمة .. البعض يعتقد الشائعات نِعم من نوع ما لعدة أسباب. في تلافيف عالم روث الأدبي هذا يتوجب عليك استبعاد المتعة، ف جو الرواية العام رغم دفئه وحميميته التي تصل بك لشعور من يلقي برأسه في حجر فرد كبير من العائلة تثق به لتستمع لحكاياه مغمض العينين، لتفاجئ ب عودة الأكشن التخريفي من خلال عدة عيوب و ثغرات في سرده، من مجمل العيوب أن النص جاء ثقيل التركيب فلقد حاولت أن أنفي عنه الشبهة المستغانمية بثقالة و تصنع لغتها المرصعة و أحداثها اللامنطقية كوقوع خالد طوبال في غرام حياة التي كانت طفلة في حجره يومًا ما، ولكن الشبهة كانت لصيقة به فهناك من اللامنطقية ما لا يصدق في الرواية ، هذا بخصوص الأحداث أما التركيب ف روث يكتب بصعوبة ليصل لقالب التركيب المثالي لكل جملة و كأن ثمة عربي بداخله يأمره بذلك! لنقل اني استمتعت بالسرد في المئة الصفحة الأولى كما لم استمتع في حياتي ولولا جهد المترجمة فاطمة ناعوت لما تجاوزت النص، وهو جهد هندسي للغاية تكتشف قيمته كلما مضيت قدماً في الرواية وتشكر عليه بالفعل ، وكان وصفها في مقدمتها الرائعة للعمل للغة بالمتعالية لم يجاف الصواب، وما وصفته ب التداعي الحر للأفكار لدى كولمن جاء مشوشًا جدًا ، وهناك عدم تكافؤ بين أحداث الرواية و تدفق المنولوجات الداخلية للشخوص كل على حدة بتكرار مزري، يسبب خلل في القراءة و يجعلك تنسى الحدث المهم ولا شك استرجاع المعلومات في ما يعادل ال ٦٥٠ هذه ليست مهمة هينة . أنصح بها للجميع .

  20. 4 out of 5

    David

    Brilliant. America in 1998. Monica Lewinsky Bill Clinton sex scandal. Organic farming movement. Political correctness. Race. An ex professor, his lover, a war vet, his children. A secret. This is the bookend to the America trilogy, American Pastoral (1970s) and I Married a Communist (1950s). This series paints his reflections on America over the last half century. Gritty, turbulent and disturbing. The stories, like every Roth story, are raw and challenging. His language, genius. His candor, brutal Brilliant. America in 1998. Monica Lewinsky Bill Clinton sex scandal. Organic farming movement. Political correctness. Race. An ex professor, his lover, a war vet, his children. A secret. This is the bookend to the America trilogy, American Pastoral (1970s) and I Married a Communist (1950s). This series paints his reflections on America over the last half century. Gritty, turbulent and disturbing. The stories, like every Roth story, are raw and challenging. His language, genius. His candor, brutally honest. Some will love this book; others will hate it. For me. Impossible to put down. Despite the fact I Married a Communist didn’t hit the highs for me like American Pastoral and The Human Stain, I marvel at Roth’s trilogy. America. Completely open and exposed. Revised 22 May 2018. Philip Roth has passed away, age 85. Such wonderful words.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nelson Zagalo

    Em termos formais, a "Mancha" é pura tragédia, e por isso não adianta gritar contra Roth e a manipulação emocional, isso faz parte do género, está na essência do tecido de relações humanas recortado para nos ser contado. O que podemos analisar, é como o faz, procurar perceber se se limita à exploração de sentimentos, ou se esses estão ali a serviço de algo maior, e disso restam poucas, nenhuma dúvidas, quando terminamos a leitura do último parágrafo. A "Mancha" é humana, a sua essência somos nós Em termos formais, a "Mancha" é pura tragédia, e por isso não adianta gritar contra Roth e a manipulação emocional, isso faz parte do género, está na essência do tecido de relações humanas recortado para nos ser contado. O que podemos analisar, é como o faz, procurar perceber se se limita à exploração de sentimentos, ou se esses estão ali a serviço de algo maior, e disso restam poucas, nenhuma dúvidas, quando terminamos a leitura do último parágrafo. A "Mancha" é humana, a sua essência somos nós, e por meio da tragédia Roth leva-nos ao interior do nosso ser, desembaraça-nos dos despojos da vida em sociedade, do seus medos, culpas e vergonhas e obriga-nos a refletir sobre aquilo que de nós resta. [IMAGEM] [A tradução de Fernanda Pinto Rodrigues para a Dom Quixote está soberba, ainda assim dos excertos que li em inglês, posso dizer que Roth é ainda mais entusiasmante no original] Coleman Silk atingiu o pico da carreira, Reitor de uma universidade americana, a sua queda é o tema central da tragédia, focando-se Roth sobre aqueles que o vão acompanhar nessa descida, o amigo escritor Zuckerman (espécie de alter-ego de Roth), e o confronto entre o seu passado pré-universidade, o presente e o futuro. Este é o cenário de fundo que vai permitir a Roth explorar os mais intrincados comportamentos humanos, do poder ao racismo, da amizade à família, do amor ao ódio. Tudo isto pode ser visto no filme homónimo realizado por Robert Benton, que conta com nada menos do que Anthony Hopkins e Nicole Kidman, mas que apesar de nos poder dar a conhecer a história em toda a sua evidência, e sendo um bom filme, fica imensamente distante do livro. Não se trata apenas do detalhe ou da diferença entre os diferentes média, a diferença aqui é evidenciada pela mestria de Roth no manejo da escrita. O modo como trabalhou o enredo, numa estrutura encapsulada e não-linear, para a qual criou personagens, não apenas soberbos e interessantes, mas que descreve de um modo profuso, intenso e extremamente íntimo. Com a não-linearidade a fazer brotar constantes descobertas, à medida que vamos lendo, e vamos compreendendo mais sobre cada um dos personagens. Roth não usa a deslinearização apenas como artifício para a participação do leitor, mas antes para enriquecer o que nos vai contando, de modo a levar-nos cada vez mais ao fundo de cada um dos envolvidos. A cada novo descamar do enredo, percebemos que não apenas saltamos no tempo, para frente ou para trás, mas que Roth como que abre um vortex por meio do qual nos leva a conhecer o interior do sentir de mais um daqueles personagens. “Durante quarenta anos fez o que era necessário fazer. Andou atarefado, e a natureza, que é a besta, mudou-se para uma caixa. Agora essa caixa está aberta. Ser reitor, ser pai, ser marido, ser intelectual, professor, ler livros, dar lições, corrigir textos, dar notas, tudo isso acabou. Evidentemente que já não é a vigorosa besta lúbrica que foi. Mas o que resta da besta, o que resta dessa coisa natural, é com isso que ele está agora em contacto, com o que resta. E sente-se feliz por isso, sente-se grato por estar em contacto com o que resta. Sente-se mais do que feliz: sente-se emocionado, e já está ligado, profundamente ligado a ela, por causa dessa emoção. Não é de família que se trata, a biologia já não lhe serve para nada. Não é família, não é responsabilidade, não é dever, não é dinheiro, não é uma filosofia partilhada ou o amor à literatura, não são grandes discussões de ideias. Não, o que o liga a ela é a emoção. Amanhã descobrem-lhe um cancro e acabou-se. Mas hoje, agora, tem essa emoção.” (excerto de "A Mancha Humana") "(..) nós deixamos uma mancha, deixamos um rasto, deixamos a nossa marca. Impureza, crueldade, mau trato, erro, excremento, sémen. Não há outra maneira de estar aqui. Não tem nada a ver com desobediência. Nem com graça, ou salvação, ou redenção. Está em todos. Sopro interior. Inerente. Determinante. A mancha que existe antes da sua marca. Sem o sinal de que está lá. A mancha que é tão intrínseca que não precisa de uma marca. A mancha que precede a desobediência, que engloba a desobediência e confunde toda e qualquer explicação e compreensão. É por isso que toda a purificação é uma anedota. É uma anedota básica, ainda por cima. A fantasia da pureza é aterradora. É demencial." (excerto de "A Mancha Humana") De algumas análises que li, nomeadamente na comparação da alegada “Trilogia Americana” de Roth, na qual a “Pastoral Americana” (1997) seria o primeiro volume, “Casei-me com um Comunista” (1998), o segundo, e “A Mancha Humana” (2000) o terceiro, parece ser consensual, apesar da “Pastoral” ter ganho o Pulitzer, que a “Mancha” é o pináculo, não apenas da trilogia, mas da obra de Roth. Provavelmente por ser aqui que vai mais longe na análise das pessoas, centrando-se nos efeitos das convenções sociais que as amarram e domesticam, e menos nas componentes políticas de cada um dos momentos representados. Por outro lado, e ao contrário do que por vezes já disse aqui no blog, a quantidade de trabalho criado por Roth não lhe foi saindo como repetição, mais do mesmo, mas antes como aprimoramento da sua mestria, com esta a evoluir continuamente ao longo da sua carreira. Roth tinha 70 anos quando escreveu a “Mancha” e isso nota-se, muito do que aqui se diz, não era possível de ser pensado por alguém com 30 ou 40 anos, é preciso experiência de vida, viver, sofrer, acertar e errar. A sua escrita foi assim tornando-se mais intensa, entrosada, e íntima, sendo responsável por muito daquilo em que se transforma a experiência das suas tragédias narradas. Para fechar, quero deixar um excerto de uma passagem, na qual Roth usa uma referência a um andamento de Mahler, que descreve de modo belíssimo, e aproveitando a particularidade multimédia do blog deixo a música, esperando assim proporcionar um momento especial a quem desejar realizar a leitura enquanto ouve: [VIDEO] Mahler, Symphony No 3, por Abbado “O percurso a pé para o cemitério, a três quarteirões de distância, foi em grande parte memorável pelo facto de, aparentemente, não ter acontecido. Num momento estávamos paralisados pela infinita vulnerabilidade do adágio de Mahler, por aquela simplicidade que não é artifício, que não é uma estratégia, que quase parece desenrolar-se com o ritmo acumulado da vida e com toda a relutância da vida em terminar… num momento estávamos paralisados por aquela rara justaposição de grandiosidade e intimidade que começa na serena, cantante e contida intensidade das cordas e depois sobe, em vagas, pelo pesado falso final que conduz ao verdadeiro, ao prolongado, ao magnífico final… num momento estávamos paralisados pelo crescendo, pela subida, pela culminância e pela acalmia de uma orgia elegíaca que se espraia, espraia, a um ritmo determinado que nunca muda, recuando para logo voltar como uma dor ou um anseio que não desaparecem… num momento estávamos, levados pela insistência crescente de Mahler…” excerto de "A Mancha Humana" Para ler com links, imagens e vídeo, ler em: http://virtual-illusion.blogspot.pt/2...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Set in New England, this book tells the story of a college professor accused of making a racist remark in one of his classes. The fact that what follows is patently unfair sets this book up as a commentary on extreme political correctness. There is a lot of ground covered here - Vietnam, Clinton/Lewinsky, racism and ageing to name a few - and in typical Roth style it is rich, clever, complex and, at times, ranting. Not what I'd call a relaxing read but hugely worthwhile if you're in the mood.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emanuele

    Dio mio, Roth!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    oh, phillip roth! you CARD. you IMP. no one makes me laugh like you. around this time last year i was on vacation on the cape reading american pastoral, another roth novella of fun and good humor! (read brinda's perfect description for an idea of that one.) i ended up forgetting the book there, with about forty pages left to read, and i never bought a new copy. i didn't care that i hadn't finished it because I WAS SO EXHAUSTED. the book wasn't bad. the book was great. but reading a roth opus is oh, phillip roth! you CARD. you IMP. no one makes me laugh like you. around this time last year i was on vacation on the cape reading american pastoral, another roth novella of fun and good humor! (read brinda's perfect description for an idea of that one.) i ended up forgetting the book there, with about forty pages left to read, and i never bought a new copy. i didn't care that i hadn't finished it because I WAS SO EXHAUSTED. the book wasn't bad. the book was great. but reading a roth opus is sort of like being in an abusive relationship, at least in my warped imagination. it seduces you with its seeming simplicity, its effortless brilliance. but it's so often cold, manipulative! but so interesting, so unlike anything you've ever read before. and then it BEATS YOU CEASELESSLY OVER THE HEAD WITH ITS UNRELENTING DARKNESS AND TRAGIC HUMANITY. sort of like that. in a major "groundhog day" moment i found myself on the cape THIS year with the human stain, which is no departure for roth. this time around, however, i finished it and lived to tell the tale. roth chooses, it seems, to tell the story of the seedy underbelly of ALL OF AMERICA. you know, something light and fun for the beach. but he does it beautifully and without pretense or haughtiness, which i think is his biggest accomplishment. parts of the human stain left me wishing roth had chosen to continue to focus on the jewish american experience, and not tackle issues of race in america. however, he successfully writes about race in new jersey (no one creates a sense of place quite like roth does with new jersey). he also brilliantly uses the ever-annoying character of delphine roux to reveal the small-minded mob mentality of private academia. as great as this book was, it left me yearning for goodbye, columbus, both the novella and the collection of the same name that contains it. the former proves that roth was not always so very serious, not always the self-appointed biographer of the american psyche. he's capable of being simultaneously funny AND undeniably relevant. for me, it's not only more entertaining but thankfully less emotionally athletic.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Wenn ich mich bei meinen Buch-Freunden hier in Goodreads umsehe, dann fällt auf, dass dieses Werk extrem stark polarisiert. Die einen lieben es, die anderen finden kein gutes Haar an ihm. Ich bin diesmal wie so oft in der Mitte und kann sowohl die Begeisterung als auch die Ablehnung verstehen, so wie ich hier auch die Stärken und Schwächen dieses Werkes anmerken kann. Im Gesamtplot finde ich die Geschichte echt grandios. Ein sehr heller Schwarzer konsturiert seine Lebenslüge als weiße Identität, Wenn ich mich bei meinen Buch-Freunden hier in Goodreads umsehe, dann fällt auf, dass dieses Werk extrem stark polarisiert. Die einen lieben es, die anderen finden kein gutes Haar an ihm. Ich bin diesmal wie so oft in der Mitte und kann sowohl die Begeisterung als auch die Ablehnung verstehen, so wie ich hier auch die Stärken und Schwächen dieses Werkes anmerken kann. Im Gesamtplot finde ich die Geschichte echt grandios. Ein sehr heller Schwarzer konsturiert seine Lebenslüge als weiße Identität, inklusive sagenhaftem akademischen und gesellschaftlichen Aufstieg, aus der er nicht mehr herauskann. Irgendwie rächt sich diese Bitch von Karma, da er wegen eines Missverständnisses als Rassist gegen Schwarze diffamiert wird. In dieser von Roth konstruierten Konstellation bekommt der Begriff Zwickmühle eine Bedeutung, die der griechischen Tragödie gleichkommt. In einer Doppelmühle kann der falsche Protagonist SilkySilk wählen zwischen: Weißer Rassist, der akademisch in den neuen politisch korrekten Zeiten einfach erledigt ist oder Neger, der sich durch Schwindel einen ihm nicht angemessenen akademischen Posten erschlichen hat bzw. nur ein verdammter dreckiger Lügner, der auch seine Familie an der Nase herumgeführt hat. Vor allem der Verrat an der Familie und seinen Kindern wiegt so schwer, dass er nicht mehr zurück kann und den weißen Rassisten stehenlassen muss, unpackbar wenn rauskäme, dass er seine Familie lebenslang angelogen hat und die Beziehungen seiner Kinder der Katastrophe ausgesetzt hätte, dass in Filialgeneration 3 ein reinrassiger Neger rausschlüpft. Er hat die Wahl zwischen Pest und Cholera Auch die Sprachfabulier und Erzählkunst ist streckenweise ausgezeichnet, bis sie in die furchtbar typische amerikanische eitle Schwadronierkunst ausufert, die fast jedem US-Autor im Verlauf seines Romans ein bisschen entgleist. Eine epische Landstraße wäre oft angemessener als ein breiter 10spuriger highway. Vor allem die Kapitel 3-4 strotzen nur so vor epischem sinnlosen Füllmaterial. Das beginnt mit den beschissenen Krähenszenen über das elaborierte oft sehr substanzlose philosophische Geschwafel des amerikanischen Pildungspürgers über Rousseau, Heidegger und andere Philosophen, deren Theorien aber nicht wirklich konsistent in den Plot eingebaut werden, sondern nur zitiert werden, damit man damit prahlen kann, was man alles gelesen hat und wie man seichte Querverweise mit der Mistgabel in den Roman hineinschaufelt. WTF das hier ist Literatur und keine wissenschaftliche Arbeit, in der jener gewinnt, der von den meisten Quellen "abgeschrieben" (natürlich zitiert - das ist ein Wissenschaftswitz) hat. Es endet übrigens in einem verdammten elitären Kulturpessimismus (Szene Ernestine und Zuckerman), ala früher waren alle klüger, den ich einfach nicht mehr ertragen kann, weil er auch heutzutage von Literaturprofessoren, die offensichtlich noch nie was von lebenslangem Lernen gehört haben und sich gegen jede Literatur- und Medientransformation mit überheblichem eltärem Geschwafel sperren, noch immer angewandt wird. Tja manches wie die Überheblichkeit der intellektuellen professoral satten Altersstarre ändert sich eben nie.😜 Die Analogien zur griechischen Tragödie und mehrfache Zitierung derselben halte ich jedoch in zweierlei Hinsicht für wundervoll. Erstens ist der Protagonist Professor für klassische Literatur, die vor allem das griechische Drama umfasst. Zweitens ist das gesamte Werk als ziemlich geniale griechische Tragödie aufgebaut. Am Ende kommen die größten Schurken gottgleich auch noch davon und profitieren sogar vom Unglück des Protagonisten. Inhaltlich spielt der Roman dann auch noch ein bisschen Gesellschaftskritik an der amerikanischen Scheinheiligkeit der akademischen Schichten. Selbst dort bei den ach so humanitären Wesen wird die political correctness als sehr effektive Waffe gleich einer Atombombe in den Ränkespielen und Intrigen der universitären Welt eingesetzt. Jaja das kenne ich sehr gut. Nirgends fliegen die intriganten Hackln so tief und effizient wie auf den Fluren der Universitätsinstitute. Was für mich inhaltlich extrem störend ist, sind die geilen unrealistischen Altherrenphantasien, die von ärgerlich über peinlich, grotesk bis total armselig reichen. Ist schon arg traurig, wenn sich fast ein Drittel des Romans über die schwindende Manneskraft, Sex, der Segen von Viagra und die Erhöhung des alten klugen Mannes über die jungen Frauen definiert. Das Bildnis der Frauen in diesem Roman also die Figuren sind auch voll von Stereotypen und Klischees, die platter und peinlicher gar nicht gehen. Die ungebildete, Katastrophen wie ein Magnet anziehende Hure mit dem goldenen Herzen und die gebildete, etwas einsam verklemmte pöhse Intrigantin. Coleman Silks Frau Iris wird dann sowieso nur mehr ganz flach auf ihre Haare und auf ihren politischen Kampfgeist reduziert. Für einen dritten Frauentypus etwas differenzierter gestaltet hat offensichtlich die Fantasie des Autors nicht mehr gereicht. Ach ja und dann auch noch die brave duldende kulturpessimistische Lehrerin in einer kleinen Nebenrolle. Etwas ungewöhnlich sind auch die völlig randomisierten Wechsel der Erzählperspektiven. Ich habe lange überlegt, ob sie mich nerven, bin aber draufgekommen, dass sie mich herausfordern, aber irritieren. Fazit: Die Story ist prinzipiell grandios, hätte man ordentlich lektoriert und das ganze Füllmaterial herausgestrichen, wäre schon mal ein recht guter Roman herausgekommen. Die Figuren sind klischeehaft und das intellektuelle Geschwafel ist einerseits himmlisch, dort wo es dazupasst und dort wo es als eitles Geschwätz eingesetzt wird, das mit der Handlung nichts zu tun hat, ist es nur unerträglich. So kommt bei Abwägung aller Faktoren für mich in Summe zwar kein schlechtes, aber ein recht mediokres Werk heraus.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This novel was disappointing - I expected much more from it. The story details the life of an African American college professor who has been "passing" as white since he was in his late teens. He hid this fact from everyone he knew, including his wife and children. His secret begins to unravel when he refers to two absent students as "spooks." Because the students are black, the remark is deemed racist, when he had actually intended the word to mean "ghosts." The writing is extremely dull and ra This novel was disappointing - I expected much more from it. The story details the life of an African American college professor who has been "passing" as white since he was in his late teens. He hid this fact from everyone he knew, including his wife and children. His secret begins to unravel when he refers to two absent students as "spooks." Because the students are black, the remark is deemed racist, when he had actually intended the word to mean "ghosts." The writing is extremely dull and rambling; sentences, paragraphs, and chapters are neverending, and the prose is too dense for my taste. The narration is very unclear, shifting between a primary narrator and events and thoughts that the narrator cannot possibly have known. The subject matter, however, is thought provoking and stimulates discussion. Is race merely about skin color? Is a person black when they have white skin? Why is the "one drop" definition of ancestry applicable to blacks, but no other race? Is it acceptible to build an identity based on a "lie?" What does it mean to live an authentic life?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    [warning: spoiler!] The thing that attracts me about this novel is quite simply how it is told. The narrator, Nathan Zuckerman, is also a character (albeit a relatively minor one although he grows in importance as the story continues). He is not, therefore, omniscient, although this becomes easy to forget. The novel is written as though he were omniscient, and then draws attention to this gap repeatedly at moments where Zuckerman explains who told him what, how he knows certain bits of informatio [warning: spoiler!] The thing that attracts me about this novel is quite simply how it is told. The narrator, Nathan Zuckerman, is also a character (albeit a relatively minor one although he grows in importance as the story continues). He is not, therefore, omniscient, although this becomes easy to forget. The novel is written as though he were omniscient, and then draws attention to this gap repeatedly at moments where Zuckerman explains who told him what, how he knows certain bits of information, and when he found out about specific details. This slippage isn't accidental. Roth handles the narrative very delicately, repeatedly setting the readers up to prejudge a character before we met him or her. As a result, we find ourselves constantly reevaluating the various people in the novel--attempting to decide over and over again what type of people they are. This is, of course, Roth's point about Coleman Silk--he lives his life as a white man (which is how the reader meets him) only for us to discover that he is black. And we are suddenly forced to rethink our first assessment of him and of our own prejudices and definitions of race and racial identity. Silk is the most prominent figure in the novel and the one who absorbs most of the reader's focus. When we first meet him he rages constantly about his unfair treatment at the college. As Dean Silk, Coleman was responsible for culling the faculty--getting rid of the deadwood professors and bringing in new staff to reignite the college. He's tough, but respectable. He's a classy guy--adept at making ancient Greek literature seem alive and resonant, even for bored undergraduates. Then he is unfairly accused of being racist and Coleman Silk finds himself friendless and alone. Much later in the novel, we get the same events, retold through the perspective of Delphine Roux, one of Silk's former colleagues. A Yale graduate, Delphine arrives at Athena College only reluctantly, seeing it as a stepping stone to launch her into a position at one of the ivy leagues. Needless to say, she and Coleman don't get along. They disagree on just about everything, including how literature should be taught and discussed. It is from Delphine's perspective that we learn Silk has little patience for some of his students. When a female student complains that the plays he assigns are degrading to women, Silk responds to Delphine: "Providing the most naive of readers with a feminist perspective on Euripides is one of the best ways you could devise to close down their thinking before it's even had a chance to begin to demolish a single one of their brainless 'likes'." This type of switch occurs endlessly in the novel--our expectations of one character are torn away as we switch perspectives and see through the eyes of another. The result is a novel that seemingly lacks a core--a clear narrative thread upon which we can depend. Here, even Nathan Zuckerman's voice is suspect (or perhaps his voice is the most suspect)--there is no authority, there is no single narrative, and there is no reliable account of events. This is a narrative that constantly tempts us, as readers, to draw metaphorical lines in the sand--he's wrong, she's right (Silk is a bastard, Silk is misunderstood)--and yet repeatedly makes this impossible. For me Roth seems to be questioning, at the very least, what we want out of our literature--characters who are cut and dried, good or bad, about whom it is easy to make a judgment and easy to decide if they've acted correctly or incorrectly. A perfect counterweight here would be Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Or, perhaps another way of thinking about it--Roth is forcing us to question why we read literature--do we want that authorial narrative voice that we lack in our daily lives?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Armin

    Schludrig zusammen geschusterte Ansammlung von allerlei Bedeutsamkeiten und Banalitäten WARNUNG: Für mich gab es dank der Berichterstattung über den ziemlich missratenen Film keinerlei Überraschungen bei den Pointen, sprich ich war durch die Hinweise auf die Glaubwürdigkeitslücken bei der Besetzung schon maximal gespoilert. Von daher nehme ich in meiner Rezi auch keine Rücksicht auf Leute, die noch keine Ahnung, von Coleman Silks dunklem Geheimnis haben. Ihr seid hiermit gewarnt, beschwert euch a Schludrig zusammen geschusterte Ansammlung von allerlei Bedeutsamkeiten und Banalitäten WARNUNG: Für mich gab es dank der Berichterstattung über den ziemlich missratenen Film keinerlei Überraschungen bei den Pointen, sprich ich war durch die Hinweise auf die Glaubwürdigkeitslücken bei der Besetzung schon maximal gespoilert. Von daher nehme ich in meiner Rezi auch keine Rücksicht auf Leute, die noch keine Ahnung, von Coleman Silks dunklem Geheimnis haben. Ihr seid hiermit gewarnt, beschwert euch also bloß nicht in den Kommentaren. Ich habe viel bessere Argumente, um euch dieses Machwerk zu vermiesen als den Hinweis auf die tatsächliche Rassenzugehörigkeit des von Anthony Hopkins gespielten Charakters. Ich hätte gern eine Warnung vor der absolut uneinheitlichen Qualität dieses Dauernobelpreiskandidaten gehabt, der in meiner Erinnerung mit dem Murksermakel weiter leben muss. Ohne die geringste Chance, was wiedergutzumachen, selbst wenn Philip Roth in jüngeren Jahren vielleicht was Schlüssigeres gelungen ist bzw. der Autor bestimmt noch eingehender über den besten Freund jedes Mannes und seine Leistungsfähigkeit in fortgeschrittenem Alter geschrieben hat. Die alten Quartettspieler MRR und Helmut Karasek waren bei den Romanen von Philip Roth immer hin und weg, - aus gutem Grund, schließlich waren alte Säcke für jüngere Frauen das Maß aller Dinge. Sogar ganz ohne finanzielle Hintergedanken. Diese Nummer bringt PR in Der Menschliche Makel gewissermaßen über Kreuz. Eine junge Dozentin aus Frankreich schießt den Ex-Dekan wegen einer vermeintlich rassistischen Bemerkung über zwei schwarze Studenten, die alte Professor nie gesehen hat, vom Campus. Seine zur Alternativ-Identität gehörende jüdische Frau stirbt beim anschließenden Ärger an einem Schlaganfall, der alte Prof. entdeckt mit 71 Viagra und eine Putze für sich, die durch den Missbrauch als Kind auf die schiefe Bahn geraten ist und mal mit einem Vietnam-Veteranen verheiratet war, der sie immer noch stalkt, zumal er ihr den Tod der beiden Kinder anlastet, die in der Wohnung erstickten, während sie draußen im Truck Sex mit ihrem aktuellen Lover hatte. Mit dem alten Sack verbindet sie nichts als Sex und mit der Einstellung einer Professionellen bleibt sie nie über Nacht bei Silk, mit einer einzigen Ausnahme, die für beide das Ende bedeutet, aber auch nur, weil der Autor geschlampert oder das Lektorat geschlafen hat. Denn es wird nie erzählt, warum Faunia und Professor Silk im selben Auto sitzen und woher der mörderische Ex-Gatte, der sich den ganzen Tag in Pittsfield herum getrieben hat, das auch noch wissen soll, wenn sie sonst immer und bei jedem noch so üblen Wetter einfach alleine weggefahren ist. Klischees, so weit das Auge reicht Der alte, gebildete Mann und die ungebildete Schlampe, die eigentlich ein guter Mensch ist und am liebsten frei wie ein Vogel wäre, das ist das Klischee beim Liebespaar und die Hauptattraktion für Kritikerpäpste im weiter fortgeschrittenen Alter, die sogar erfahrene Leser über die restlichen Recycling-Elemente und andere Banalitäten hinweg sehen lässt. Spätestens seit Martin Scorseses Taxi Driver ist der Post-Vietnam-Psychopath ein fester Bestandteil des amerikanischen Alltagslebens, krankhafte Stalker und Ex-Gatten sind seit Mitte der Achtziger Teil des Krimi-Diskurses, das Mahnmal für die Veteranen kommt Anfang der Neunziger im Film und in Romanen dazu. All diese schon häufig genutzten Standards rührt PR in Faunias Ex-Gatten zusammen, der den durch nichts motivierten Selbstmordversuch via Kollision mit dem Wagen des Lovers seiner EX überlebt, der Faunia doch vorher noch nie nach Hause fahren musste. Die Szene mit dem Zweiten Gesicht muss mir wohl entgangen sein. Auch der letzte Schnaufer des alten Chevy auf dem Rückweg vom Tierasyl. Fehler im Detail können jedem Autor unterlaufen*, aber an einer derart zentralen Stelle, darf man nicht schludern. Trotzdem habe ich mich fast noch mehr über das andere Klischee geärgert, die verkorkste Dozentin und gnadenlose Feministin träumt in Wirklichkeit von einem Typen wie Coleman Silk und der wäre ja sogar wieder zu haben, nachdem sich Faunia in der letzten Szene vor dem Unfall mit einer Elster verlobt hat, bzw. Colemans Ring in deren Käfig in der Vogelstation versteckt hat. Manche Leute mögen das vielleicht sogar tragisch oder bedeutsam finden, dass der passende Topf nicht mehr seinen Deckel gefunden hat, zumal sämtliche Gründe für den Selbstmordanschlag des Veteranen bereits hinfällig waren. Aber mich kotzt diese Schlamperei doch ziemlich an. Und jetzt - ACHTUNG RIESENSPOILERGEFAHR!!!! - komme ich zu dem dunklen Geheimnis von Coleman Silk, der als hellhäutiger Farbiger mit ausreichend Erfahrung mit jüdischen Boxschülern, die Identität wechselte. Der Part über seine Jugend als Farbiger war auch nicht wirklich neu, sondern der ixte Aufguss von Romanen afroamerikanischer Autoren, dem PR noch seine bwährte jüdische DNA beigemischt hatte. Allerdings kam mir die Sportskanone, die auch in allen anderen Fächern nur der Beste sein konnte, doch geradezu unglaublich vorzüglich vor. Der Wechsel der Rasse über eine schlichte falsche Angabe bei der Anmusterung bei der Navy war zwar ganz nett, aber irgendwie auch nur literarischer Durchschnitt. Manchen Kapiteln (z.B. Die letzte Liebesszene) war schon anzumerken, dass sich der Autor redlich gemüht hatte, man roch regelrecht den Autorenschweiß und einen ziemlich kräftigen Herrenduft dazu, aber was nutzen derartige Einzelanfälle von künstlerischem Ehrgeiz, wenn das Gesamtwerk durch so viele Unstimmigkeiten und Banalitäten beeinträchtigt wird? Auch die Auseinandersetzung mit der Heuchelei der politischen Korrektheit wird auf die Komplexe einer Französischen Dozentin herunter gewürdigt, die in den Staaten einfach nicht den passenden Kerl abkriegt, bzw. ein paar dreckige Witze über Bill Clinton und seinen zu unentschlossenen Umgang mit Monica Lewinsky (Er hätte sie in den Arsch ficken sollen), die ohne den geringsten Hinweis auf die Szenerie abgelassen werden, null Visuals, erst ein paar Seiten später bekommt der Leser mitgeteilt, dass Coleman gerade ein paar Jungdozenten auf dem Campus belauscht. * Habe gestern in einem meiner Romane auch einen vereisten Steg, der in der Abendsonne glitzert, eliminiert, weil sich während der Überarbeitung die gesamte Handlung ein Viertel Jahr nach hinten verschoben hatte.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nuno Simões

    'afasta-te daquilo em que o homem pôs a mão'.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Giulia_

    Diceva Camus che ' L'assurdo non libera: vincola'. Ecco, mi sembra che una costante dei libri di Roth sia fare un esperimento. Prendere un uomo mediamente soddisfatto , e gettarlo nell'Assurdo, nell'inspiegabile e crudele meccanismo della vita. Ci aspetteremmo, da parte di Coleman, un'opposizione fiera al giogo della 'reputazione'; una libertà di azione altrettanto solida che di pensiero. E, invece, quest' uomo carismatico, vincente negli studi come nello sport, si rivela come quanto di meno lib Diceva Camus che ' L'assurdo non libera: vincola'. Ecco, mi sembra che una costante dei libri di Roth sia fare un esperimento. Prendere un uomo mediamente soddisfatto , e gettarlo nell'Assurdo, nell'inspiegabile e crudele meccanismo della vita. Ci aspetteremmo, da parte di Coleman, un'opposizione fiera al giogo della 'reputazione'; una libertà di azione altrettanto solida che di pensiero. E, invece, quest' uomo carismatico, vincente negli studi come nello sport, si rivela come quanto di meno libero possiamo immaginare. È, in primis, un Homo Novus che, pur di essere LIBERO ( libero di ESSERE senza vincoli, di agire, di riuscire) si scrolla di dosso, en passant, le sue origini. Salvo poi scoprire di essersi messo in gabbia da solo. Vincolato a una macchia che lo farà sentire sempre latitante, all'erta, sul punto di essere smascherato. La verità è che noi siamo la nostra Storia. Più cerchiamo di rinnegarla, più ci incateniamo a lei. Così, quando il suo fragile equilibrio crolla in virtù di una parola, -Spook-, Coleman inizia la sua discesa nel Paradosso. O, per meglio dire, la accellera. Avvia una relazione con una donna dal passato ingombrante, la cui ignoranza è il rovescio speculare delle sue raffinate conoscenze classiciste. Gli viene elargito il dono di un'ultima passione. Dovrebbe poterla vivere con pienezza. Eppure, sente, dolorosamente, il peso della riprovazione degli 'altri'. A macchia si aggiunge macchia, senza che quella vera ,- il segreto oscuro che lo tormenta-, venga scoperta. Muore in macchina, accanto a Faunia. Non, come ci si aspetterebbe, a seguito di una dignitosa malattia. Ultimo dei paradossi, ed unica coerenza nell'incoerenza della sua vita. 4 stelle perché Pastorale Americana è troppo immenso.

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