This thoroughly entertaining novel is unique in content and form. Jay Fitger is a pretentious, acerbic, cynical, and very witty professor of creative writing at a Midwestern college. The story is told, or rather insinuated, through a series of letters of recommendation he writes for various students, colleagues, and staff members. The letters overflow with rib-tickling asides on his personal life and academic insanity, such as:
Yesterday on the metal bookshelf in my office, I came across a cluster of insects – a beetle, two moths, a centipede, and several bluebottle flies – writhing together like dirgeful companions in their final death throes, presumably poisoned by vapors from the second floor. But never mind: I am sure our foreshortened life spans will be made worthwhile on the day the economists, in their jewel-encrusted palanquins, are reinstalled in their palazzo over our heads.
Don’t be fooled by the format. Though short and fun to read, and cut into apparently unrelated chunks, it contains a full plot and character development nicely camouflaged as humor.