cover image The Shakespeare Requirement

The Shakespeare Requirement

Julie Schumacher. Doubleday, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-54234-0

Schumacher’s hilarious latest (after the Thurber Prize–winning Dear Committee Members) follows bumbling, dentally challenged Jason Fitger, the reluctant head of the English department at Payne University. Life just isn’t kind to Fitger, who suffers indignities that include a cramped, wasp-infested office, an acerbic assistant, and having to observe his ex-wife’s relationship with the hapless dean. Even worse, Fitger must create an unlikely alliance among his eccentric group of teachers to unite against Roland Gladwell, an economics professor who has his sights set on eliminating the English department altogether. Fitger attempts to placate the intractable teachers, going as far as allowing one to recover from surgery at his home, while Gladwell continues his march against the humanities. Meanwhile, Fitger’s teachers join together to support Angela, one of the top freshmen who truly cares about learning, yet gets caught in a mess and needs their assistance. Shumacher’s satisfying and fun novel is bolstered by its memorable campus setting and its quirky cast. (Aug.)