An intense, chaotic, ultimately sensible story of a few days in the life of a professor in the feuding English department of a middling state university in central Pennsylvania. Well-written, engaging, funny, poignant and long enough to be satisfying.
Good style, funny at times.
I thought it was written in the seventies. It seems that not much changed in academia.
I've known about Richard Russo for a while, but just started reading him this year and am devouring his work, which I think puts him at the forefront of contemporary American novelists. Like Irving, he has little interest in trends, post-modernism, or experimentalism. He's a proudly old fashioned, populist novelist who rather than trying to bend words in new ways do what great authors have always done: try to make sense of how we live. "Straight Man" is not his best novel, but it is his funniest. He keeps the small-town setting of his other books, but this time the characters are professors at a college. He gently pokes fun at office politics, lit theory, and how every English prof. tries to write a novel. As always, his characters and settings feel authentic and lived in, like a familiar flannel shirt. It has a similar wit and feel to David Lodge's campus novels.
One of the best books I have ever read. Funny - yes, laugh-out-loud - but also excellent character development and superb philosophies. Writing this good is very rare indeed.
One of the funniest books I've read in a long time.
I love Richard Russo's writing - he's an author who makes every word count - no wasted rhetoric! This book was so true - and so very funny - I loved it!
I thought this was SUPER funny. The writing style is similar to my own way of saying things, so it made we connect with the story a lot. Also very heart-wrenching at times, at least to me. But definitely funny. Highly recommend.
This is one of the funniest books I've ever read, hands-down.
A funny look at small-town academic life colliding with a midlife crisis.
I suppose this was a funny book...but, frankly I found it a little too TRUE to be funny! Very accurate writing about academia and the foibles/plots/fears/desires of a college's professors and administration. A good book.
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