Small World
by David Lodge

LodgeScreen shot 2013-03-01 at 3.16.42 PM“Campus novel” about academics on the international circuit of academic conferences.  (Warning:  language and sex)

Opening paragraph:  “April is the cruelest month,” Persse McGarrigle quoted silently to himself, gazing through the grimy windowpanes at the unseasonable snow crusting the lawns and flowerbeds of the Rummidge campus.  He had recently completed a Master’s dissertation on the poetry of T.S. Eliot, but the opening words of The Waste Land might, with equal probability, been passing through the head of any one of the fifty-odd men and women, of varying ages, who sat or slumped in the raked rows of seats in the same lecture-room.  For they were all well acquainted with that poem, being University Teachers of English Language and Literature, gathered together here, in the English Midlands for their annual conference, and few of them were enjoying themselves.

Quotes from critics:  “It’s hard to imagine a funnier book about academe.  In fact, it’s hard to imagine a funnier book about anything” (The Boston Globe); “Lodge combines John Updike’s precise social observation with Philip Roth’s uproarious humor” (Newsday); “a delectable comedy of bad manners . . .infused with a rare creative exuberance.” (Washington Post)

Bio:  David Lodge (1935-) is an English author of 14 novels, 12 works of literary criticism, and three plays.  He was Professor of Literature at the University of Birmingham for many years.  He has won numerous literary awards and the CBE.

Award:  Booker prize finalist