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This is such a dead-on accurate satire of what goes on at a university. Thank God it's a comedy because it would just be too painful otherwise. Companies have competing departments but universities have competing classes of stakeholders: the administration, the faculty, the athletics group and their boosters, the maintenace staff, the alumni, and the students, and probably a couple others I've left out. Each group has their own agenda and Smiley portrays each one perfectly. Most books about college seem to focus on the students but Smiley correctly captures the fact that students are merely transitory citizens in the life of a university. Multiple intersecting storylines, quotable passages on every "page" and entertaining characters abound. Smiley's prose never flags through it all. She is an extraordinary talent.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I got this because, as an art instructor who went to college in Iowa, I thought I could relate.
It had a zillion characters (which I usually like) but they all became to stupid to care about.
I didn't finish it. 'nuf said.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful
What could be less exciting than a novel set in an agricultural university? At first glance, Jane Smiley's novel, with its bovine title, seems to offer little to arrest the potential reader. Fortunately, from chapter 1, the reader is captivated, and a diverse and interesting cast of characters passes across the stage, intersecting, sometimes clashing, sometimes loving, and participating in the petty and large scale politics so typical of academe. Although it's a long listen, the strongly differentiated characters, and the excellent reading, carry the listener on with great involvement. And I found it to be an excellent travel companion on a flight to Australia.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A great novel brilliantly read. One of my favourite audiobooks.