Dear Committee Members

by Schumacher, Julie, 1958-

Format: Print Book [2014]
Availability: Unavailable 0 copies
Finally a novel that puts the "pissed" back into "epistolary."

Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can't catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work  Accountant in a Bordello , based on Melville's  Bartleby . In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. We recommend  Dear Committee Members  to you in the strongest possible terms.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger claims the only writing he has time for anymore is recommendation letters. Acquiescing to the demands of academia, Fitger produces an endless stream of correspondence. He writes letters championing graduate students for enviable residencies, letters supporting undergraduates applying for entry-level jobs, letters surreptitiously recommending colleagues for (dreaded) committee service, and letters to the administration complaining of its clear favoritism of the economics department. Returning to adult fiction after a stint writing for children, Schumacher (An Explanation for Chaos, 1997) presents a novel composed solely of these missives, revealing the story of an academic year through her narrator's one-sided correspondence. Fitger is sarcastic yet good-hearted and bemused at the absurdity of many of the letters he is asked to write. As he reaches out to colleagues and committees, including his absentee publisher and dean ex-wife, Fitger's letters become increasingly biographical, divulging his own sinking academic, literary, and romantic ambitions. Schumacher's warm satire of the peculiarities of the Ivory Tower will be recognizable to anyone who has encountered the bureaucracy and internal politics of higher education.--Bosch, Lindsay Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Professor Jason Fitger, the hero of this engaging epistolary novel from Schumacher (The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls), is concerned about Darren Browles, a student of his currently at work on a novel. Fitger, who teaches creative writing at fictional Payne University in Maine, believes this book, when completed, will prove Browles to be a prodigy. Despite Fitger's near-ecstatic praise of the would-be novelist, both for writing positions and for any job available, no one seems interested in hiring Browles, not even the less-than-enterprising college radio station. In addition to this pet project, Fitger commits himself to writing recommendations for anyone that asks. However, he agrees to do so only on the condition of being completely frank, leading him to address the personal lives of his colleagues and students inappropriately. Additionally, Fitger delves into his own life with uncomfortable honesty, regardless of which person he's writing to, usually concerning the marriage-ending novel he wrote about his extramarital affairs and his distress over being a failed novelist. His letters become progressively more abrasive, to the point of insult. A creative writing professor himself, Schumacher crafts a suitably verbose but sympathetic voice for Fitger, a man who exudes both humor and heart. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, ICM Partners. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects College teachers -- Fiction.
English teachers -- Fiction.
Employment references -- Fiction.
Letters -- Fiction.
Epistolary fiction.
Publisher New York :[2014]
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 180 pages ; 20 cm
ISBN 9780385538138 (hardback)
0385538138 (hardback)
9780345807335 (paperback)
0345807332 (paperback)
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