Rookery Blues

Jon Hassler, Author Ballantine Books $23 (484p) ISBN 978-0-345-39356-2
In his eighth novel, Hassler (Dear James) takes leave of the denizens of Staggerford and visits the fascinating magic of his wryly observed insights upon a motley collection of junior professors at Rookery State College, a sort of purgatory for academic misfits in the remote northwoods of Minnesota. The year is 1969, and the Icejam Quintet at first seems the answer to faculty disaffection. The jazz group includes the campus's star musicologist, Dr. Peggy Benoit, a sexy, divorced sax-player and vocalist, and three English professors: pianist Leland Edwards, clarinetist Neil Novotny and drummer Victor Dash. The bassist, Connor, a somewhat celebrated painter from a larger college, is struggling with alcoholism and a bad marriage. A near-death experience sobers Connor, and he falls into bed with Dr. Peggy, which stirs the rebellion of his unhappy teenage daughter. When the high-handed Minnesota State College Board unlawfully diverts money earmarked for faculty raises into a building fund, combative Victor, an ex-union man, leads a movement to bring in a strike-minded union. After the faculty strikes, the administration orders a lockout, forcing a major crisis that puts the members of the Quintet at odds with their community, themselves and each other. Skillfully skewering academic intrigue, basic human foibles and the upheavals of the 1960s, Hassler has produced an uproariously funny, wonderfully satisfying sendup of academic tomfoolery. 40,000 first printing; author tour. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1995
Release date: 08/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-517-31518-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-345-42308-5
Paperback - 978-0-345-40641-5
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