The Scientists

A Family Romance

Roth, Marco, 1974-

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Scientists
Baker & Taylor
Tells the story of the author's family and how they dealt with his father's suffering and death from AIDS.

McMillan Palgrave
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.

Book News
A young writer reflects on growing up in the 1980s and 1990s as the son of a physician/scientist and a classical musician in the Jewish-American intellectual milieu of Manhattan's Upper West Side. Roth's memoir pivots around uncovering the truth surrounding his father's death from AIDS, and his range of reactions to this family secret. He philosophically concludes: "In what ways were most of us not the children of denial?" Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374210281
Branch Call Number: B Roth R
Characteristics: 196 p. ; 22 cm.


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Mar 03, 2013
  • Pigeona rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A beautiful haunting book.


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Roth, Marco, 1974-
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