The British Museum is Falling Down (1965)

David Lodge
Penguin Books

Allegedly "comic" novella capturing the horrors of a). orthodox Catholicism, and b). graduate English studies.  If you fit into both categories, do not read this novel, not even on a dare.

Adam Appleby is a graduate student toiling every day at his thesis, "The Structure of Long Sentences in Three Modern English Novels." He is also a devout Catholic father, worried that his wife may be pregnant with the couple's fourth child (a product of the Pope's intransigence on birth control).  This is my first go at Lodge, and he certainly lives up to his reputation for capturing the neurotic vibe of academia.  Particularly hilarious, I thought, is Appleby's love-hate relationship with his physical manuscript, a tome that he dreads toting back and forth everyday to the library, and yet for which he feels profound separation anxiety when it is not in his satchel (as it is, after all, his "fifth" child).

Think things are tough now, egghead?  Read Lodge's account of a grad-faculty mixer circa 1965.  Chilling.

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