Switching gears from dark gallows comedy after the Omaha Prize winning RESURRECTING VIRGIL, Dorie LaRue follows in the tradition of the academic novel with a vigorous satire about a small provincial state university in competition with an elite private college. Seen through the eyes of a newly hired Romantic scholar, Dr. Joyce Michalak, who becomes the target of a self-deluded tenure committee, the story reverses the male predator professor/innocent female student victim dyad. Choosing a most inopportune time to fall in love with a student, a Bosnian immigrant, whose observations concerning US academia ultimately cause Joyce Michalak to rethink her political, social, and sexual philosophy, she makes a decision which separates her from her colleagues and their lack of moral agency but threatens to destroy all her hopes for tenure. During the course of the fast moving narrative, Dr. Michalak is intent on educating her provincial female students with a crash course in each wave of feminism, and all of her students in the joys of postmodern analysis, an education which they not only survive but which gives them opportunities to provide unignorable insight. The narrative moves along backgrounded by the greedy chancellor's forays into privitization until its unexpected yet inevitable climax and an orchestrated ending that makes LEARNING CURVES rock as a contemporary feminine LUCKY JIM.
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Published June 22, 2011
by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Literature & Fiction.