Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story

Rachel Kadish, Author . Houghton Mifflin $24 (336p) ISBN 978-0-618-54669-5

Tracy Farber, a 33-year-old not-yet-tenured English professor at an unnamed New York City university, works to subvert Tolstoy's famous statement that "happy families are all alike" by investigating whether American fiction can "have an ending that's both honest and happy." Satisfied with her independence and her challenging academic career, Tracy's only worries are her girlfriends' romantic problems and bitter colleague Joanne, who is on a professional witch-hunt over grade inflation. Until she starts dating earnest education policy consultant George; the two have a two-month whirlwind romance before getting engaged, but when they hit a rough patch, Tracy finds real happiness isn't necessarily the stuff of her academic research. Her romantic difficulties (and joys) share near equal time with Tracy's academic pursuits and university politics: Tracy's best friend considers resigning to be with his lover; a visiting Oxford professor shakes up the department; a high-strung graduate student melts down; and Joanne's increasing rancor puts Tracy's tenure at risk. Kadish (From a Sealed Room ) writes about relationships with as much passion as she does literary theory, and her intelligent narrator—intensely aware of romantic clichés—gives this novel insightful traction that 21st-century feminists will appreciate. (Sept. 1)

Reviewed on: 06/05/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 329 pages - 978-0-618-91983-3
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-547-52730-7
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