Saturday, December 11, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: The Human Stain

It was the summer of 1998 that my neighbor Coleman Silk -- who, before retiring two years earlier, had been a classics professor at nearby Athena College for some twenty-odd years as well as serving for sixteen more as the dean of faculty -- confided to me that, at the age of seventy-one, he was having an affair with a thirty-four-year-old cleaning woman who worked down at the college.

-- The Human Stain by Philip Roth.

Wow! That's a whole novel in itself. What a terrific opening sentence! It reminds me of why I love Philip Roth.

This won the PEN/Faulkner Award, and would have counted as one of my books for the Book Awards Reading Challenge, if I hadn't messed up and failed to realize that the challenge ended on November 1, not the end of the year. Oh, well. Maybe the new challenge started on Nov. 1 and this will count for that one.

Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly Opening Sentence event now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages.  I'm a day late this week. 


  1. That was a powerful book. Read it many years ago it seems.

  2. Even though I just started it, I can tell already that "powerful" is a good description!

  3. I have only read one book by Philip Roth and I need to rectify that! The Human Stain is on my TBR pile.

  4. I did not love The Human Stain, though that is a good opening line! I'll be interested to hear what you think of the rest of the book.


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