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Lecturer’s novel a ‘spiritual detective tale’
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- "The Lecturer's Tale" by James Hynes?
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The Lecturer's Tale
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When first we meet Nelson, he has tumbled from his tenure track, downward through the ranks, and has bottomed out as "a former visiting adjunct lecturer, on his way to failed academic. Someone calls his name three times and -- just as the clock in the library tower tolls 13 -- Nelson turns toward the mysterious voice, stumbles backwards over a woman stooping behind him and throws his arms out to break his fall. At that exact moment, a bicycle passes and slices off his right index finger.
ISBN 13: 9780312287719
When Nelson comes to in the hospital, his finger has been reattached -- and, although he's been told he will have lost all sensation in the digit, it throbs, burns and tingles. Soon Nelson will realize that his reattached finger has the power to make people do his bidding with a single touch. At first, Nelson uses his magical digit as an instrument of good. His family does not get kicked out of university housing. He gets his lectureship back. Then he sets to work to get tenure for his office mate, Vita Deonne, his only friend in the department.
But somewhere along the line, Nelson loses his sense of purpose, along with his innate selflessness and decency, and gets wildly ambitious. He embarks on a mad quest for tenure, for power, for extramarital sex. And along with Nelson, the story itself loses its bearings and begins to spin wildly out of control. Hynes has brought us into the insular world of academia, introduced us to its nutty denizens many of them, I understand, are parodies of real academics, familiar to some, though not to me , made us kinda love them and their wacky theoretical squabbles, and then stripped them of their personalities and made them dance.
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