Bitchfest by Jen
The Lecturer’s Tale
Picador USA, New York
Verdict: 0/5 Chunky!
“World domination? Pshaw.”
The three things:
3. Recurring (sometimes lengthy) foreign words or phrases with no translation;
2. Too many obscure words that make me resort to a dictionary twice on every page (and I have a pretty big vocabulary); and
1. Anything more than ultra-superficial plot involvement of tenure track and/or academia.
I just quit the book The Lecturer’s Tale (James Hynes; Picador USA, New York; 2001) on page 98, chapter 6, because it is guilty of all three. I hardly ever quit books. This was an extreme case.
I would’ve known better than to even start had I paid more attention to the quote on the cover: “‘The most devastating satirical portrait of contemporary academic life I’ve ever read'” (emphasis added).
The protagonist, a milquetoast visiting lecturer who has just lost his job and his faculty housing, gets a magic finger that makes people do his bidding when he touches them. World domination? Pshaw. So far he has used his powers only for meager advancement in his professional professorial life. Granted, he is just now beginning to understand the depth and breadth of said powers, but here I venture a guess: When he achieves mastery of the magic finger, he will rise to … wait for it! … dean!
In a nutshell, blech.