Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The scientists : a family romance by Marco…

The scientists : a family romance (edition 2012)

by Marco Roth

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
664180,945 (3.44)1
Title:The scientists : a family romance
Authors:Marco Roth
Info:New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Read, OSLRI, 2012

Work details

The Scientists: A Family Romance by Marco Roth



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 4 of 4
At first I thought that this was a whole lot of white people's problems which it is, but also something more. I found myself very caught up in the story about his family and quite moved. I'm not sure if it couldn't have all been said in a long essay but I enjoyed reading it. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
I got a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. Thanks!

The first thing I should say about Roth's memoir is that it is very well written. Roth is an expert in his language, and uses his words in ways that flow as well as twist. To this, I should add that if you are not familiar with literary criticism, or "theory," or philosophy, and it irritates you that a writer uses references to the likes of Benjamin, Mallarme, and to other books, like the Red and the Black and Oblomov, then I suspect that you may not enjoy this memoir as much as others who are familiar with this turf. If you are not at all familiar with academia and the humanities, you may miss out on some satisfactory laughs.

I found Roth's voice, and Roth as the teenager, and then the lost 20-something-year-old man, to be perfectly likable. Even his mother, his father, and his aunt, as well as his various friends, seemed to be well flawed, yet likable characters. Sure, Roth does go through the expected teenage rebellion in his own way that perfectly suits his family, and sure he is privileged, and he knows it, and he is, luckily, half troubled and half thankful for it, and sure he is angry at his father and his mother and his aunt at different points in his life, but none of this makes him unlikable. It all just makes him and those surrounding him more human.

Anyone who is familiar with the academic humanities circles, especially in the Ivy Leagues, will find a lot of familiar scenes in this memoir. Roth's depiction of social events, as well as classes and discussions are very accurate. Even to the point of ridiculously familiar, like when the department head orders too many bottled of wine and the grad students take some home after the department party. Wow, takes me back! There is plenty for those familiar with the academia on the science end of things to nod knowingly, too (though we'd always have some hard liquor, because despite common opinion, us scientists always party more/harder and jollier than those humanities people!)

All prospective graduate students, graduate students, and postdocs should read page 141-142. When I read the lecture the person who is trying to unionize grad students gives them, I could not believe how Roth's account was almost EXACTLY the same as the conversations I have had with academics in the past. And yes, my graduate student friends all believed that they would be the 1 out of 5 who would become that hot shot professor at a good university; and no, none of them managed to achieve their lofty, irrational goal. There are some sad truths in Roth's account of the state of academia and research that apply to the humanities and the sciences alike, and I am afraid this is nothing new to those of us who have lived in academia, though it may be an eye opener for those who are not in those circles.

Overall, Roth's memoir is a painfully personal, cathartic, and introspective account of a family's past, and a light, stronger than expected, illuminating its present and future.

Recommended for those who like Fun Home, Fairyland, those who love or hate academia, the humanities, literary criticism, and philosophy, and New York City. Oh, and how can I forget; recommended for those who like reverse transcription, hematology, immunology, and malaria research. ( )
1 vote bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
Marco Roth writes in a beautifully natural manner that is absent of any sentimentality or blame. Though he certainly has an agenda in writing this book it never feels pressed or vengeful. Roth's search is only for the truth and all the ramifications that come with finding it even within his own personality and how he proceeds daily in the matters of owning and living his personal life. But there is much more to my thinking about this memoir and you can read about it here:

http://mewlhouse.hubpages.com/hub/Marco-Roth-and-The-Scientists ( )
  MSarki | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374210284, Hardcover)

A frank, intelligent, and deeply moving debut memoir

With the precociousness expected of the only child of a doctor and a classical musician—from the time he could get his toddler tongue to a pronounce a word like “De-oxy ribonucleic acid,” or recite a French poem—Marco Roth was able to share his parents’ New York, a world centered around house concerts, a private library of literary classics, and dinner discussions of the latest advances in medicine. That world ended when his father started to suffer the worst effects of the AIDS virus that had infected him in the early 1980s.

What this family could not talk about for years came to dominate the lives of its surviving members, often in unexpected ways. The Scientists is a story of how we first learn from our parents and how we then learn to see them as separate individuals; it’s a story of how precociousness can slow us down when it comes to knowing about our desires and other people’s. A memoir of parents and children in the tradition of Edmund Gosse, Henry Adams, and J.R. Ackerley, The Scientists grapples with a troubled intellectual and emotional inheritance, in a style that is both elegiac and defiant.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:55 -0400)

With the precociousness expected of the only child of a doctor and a classical musician, Marco Roth shares his parents' New York, a world centered around house concerts, a private library of literary classics, and dinner discussions of the latest advances in medicine. That world ended when his father began to suffer the worst effects of the AIDS virus that had infected him in the early 1980s.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
15 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.44)
0.5 1
2 2
3 4
3.5 2
4 5
5 3

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,249,739 books! | Top bar: Always visible