Saturday, August 30, 2014

What is Julie Schumacher reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members.

One book she tagged:
Smith Henderson, Fourth of July Creek
I read a review of this novel which praised it but spent a good deal of time discussing its resemblance to the work of Cormac McCarthy – which I found discouraging, because I am one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t care for McCarthy’s work. Fortunately, I loved Fourth of July Creek, which is powerfully dramatic in its portrayals of a well-meaning but damaged social worker and some of the rural and very damaged children he attempts to assist. There’s a bleakness here, but Henderson offers the reader – and his characters – hope as well....[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
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.
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Writers Read: Julie Schumacher.

--Marshal Zeringue