“Et in Academia, Ego”: I review “Bradstreet Gate”

“Et in Academia, Ego”: I review “Bradstreet Gate” September 21, 2015

for the University Bookman:

Death and defeat haunt the college novel. College novels—whether they focus on students or professors—typically tell a story in which the shining promises of academia prove not only false but absurd. College promises insight; college novels display the blankness of human depravity. College proclaims the power of reason and dialogue; college novels expose irrational passions and farcical miscommunication. College exalts the life of the mind, while the college novel is the province of sex and death, the two most common means by which our bodies humiliate us.

Bradstreet Gate, Robin Kirman’s new entry into the “Death Wore a Cap and Gown” genre, spins a sordid tale of sex and murder. Repressed, obnoxious, conservative professor Rufus Storrow may or may not have killed his left-wing student Julie Patel. He definitely did have an affair with a student, Georgia Calvin. The book alternates perspectives among three students—Georgia, her troubled friend Alice Kovac, and her friendzoned spaniel Charlie Flournoy—leaving Patel and Storrow mostly opaque.

The most interesting parts of the book come when Kirman is adding to the list of our bodily humiliations….

more–I don’t love this review but it does have the phrase “likability privilege” in it…


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