September 6, 2018 – Slate
The Agony of Bureaucracy
A conversation with Lydia Kiesling about The Golden State.
“The job Daphne drives away from is at a university that looks a lot like UC–Berkeley. How does your novel compare to other campus novels?
Some of my literary sensibility was for better or worse formed by novels like Lucky Jim, with a comic protagonist we are meant to see as Everyman. I’m amazed at how long it took me to realize not only that Lucky Jim is a terrible Everyman but that there’s a lot of harm written into that book—the casualties of the book (poor Margaret Peel) are presented as funny. I still love the book and have a soft spot for that campus-novel sensibility that is arch and judgmental and barbarously unempathetic, but it’s basically irreconcilable with the way women are socialized, and with the demands of motherhood. My book is in some ways the result of taking a Lucky Jim type of sensibility but putting it on a woman with a baby. Suddenly, the book is completely different. There are stakes.”
August 20, 2018 – The New Republic
The New Campus Novel
Julie Schumacher’s “The Shakespeare Requirement” is a playful, sharp satire of the horrors of modern academia.
“The Shakespeare Requirement takes on a department in a terrible state. English at Payne is not so much an intellectual nest of idiot vipers, as in The History Man, but rather a collection of people with very little energy left to give, trying in their semi-competent way to keep their subject alive in a hostile culture. Fitger is perhaps the least competent among them—he can barely use email, for example—but the travails of the novel end up testing his worth as a human being, not as an administrator.”
Posted in Bez kategorii, campus novel, college novel, The New Republic
Tagged Changing Places, David Lodge, Dear Committee Members, Elif Batuman, John Williams, Julie Schumacher, Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim, Malcolm Bradbury, Mary McCarthy, Nice Work, Pictures from an Institution, Pnin, Randall Jarrell, Small World, Stoner, The Groves of Academe, The History Man, The Possessed, The Shakespeare Requirement, Vladimir Nabokov
July 31, 2018 – LA Review of Books
Leaps of Doubt in R. O. Kwon’s “The Incendiaries”
by Anna E. Clark
“IS THERE ANY TIME of life more racked by yearning and uncertainty than college? Not, at least, in R. O. Kwon’s The Incendiaries, a debut novel that cannily blurs the line between campus novel and cult lit. As Kwon depicts them, those aching years are a time for confronting the fuzziness of one’s beliefs, for wrestling with the problem of who we want to be.”