The Visiting Professor

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Overview

A delicious post -cold war romp, The Visiting Professor is another classic page-tuner for the many fans that have come to recognize Robert Littell-thanks to The Company and its recent TNT miniseries-as a thriller writer on par with John le Carré and Alan Furst.

Lemuel Falk, "a Russian theoretical chaoticist on the lam from terrestrial chaos," has applied for permission to leave Russia every year for the past twenty-three years. Unexpectedly, his twenty-fourth request is approved...

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The Visiting Professor: A Novel of Chaos

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Overview

A delicious post -cold war romp, The Visiting Professor is another classic page-tuner for the many fans that have come to recognize Robert Littell-thanks to The Company and its recent TNT miniseries-as a thriller writer on par with John le Carré and Alan Furst.

Lemuel Falk, "a Russian theoretical chaoticist on the lam from terrestrial chaos," has applied for permission to leave Russia every year for the past twenty-three years. Unexpectedly, his twenty-fourth request is approved and he accepts a chair as visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Chaos-Related Studies in upstate New York. As soon as he arrives, he is plunged into another kind of chaos-an academic catfight, an affair with a much-younger hairdresser, and a dangerous serial killer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Forsaking his customary thriller territory, Littell ( The Revolutionist ) here finds fertile new ground in the farther reaches of mathematics, which prove a wellspring of rich and consistently surprising comedy. When Lemuel Falk, a Russian ``theoretical chaoticist on the lam from terrestrial chaos,'' arrives to take up his visiting fellowship at Backwater University, he is immediately confronted by a blizzard of Americana: is it absolute confusion or, as Lemuel suspects, merely ``fool's randomness''--the facade of disorder behind which lurks a pure meaning? Many turn to him for the answer: a dope-smoking Orthodox rabbi seeking ``the chaos at the heart of the heart of the Torah,'' a libidinous female barber named Occasional Rain, and a multinational throng of spooks and spies all seeking to use Lemuel's mathematical genius for their encryption programs. A not-quite-innocent abroad fleeing Stalinist ghosts, the professor quests across the spiraling chaos of the American landscape, becoming in succession or in combination a lover, theologian, political protestor, media celebrity, homicide investigator and, finally, a refugee in the deceptively tranquil aisles of the local E-Z Mart. Littell's fast-paced satire is by turns bawdy, cerebral and touching. (Mar.)
Library Journal
When Lemuel Falk first arrives from the Soviet Union to take up a visiting professorship at the Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Chaos-Related Studies in upstate New York, he expects to discover a land where streets are paved with Sony Walkmans. Instead, he encounters a beautiful female barber who cadges luxury items from the grocery store, state troopers protecting the construction of a nuclear waste dump, and a serial murderer whose victims show absolutely no connection with each other. Drawn in to these issues--at first helplessly and then with more determination--the beleaguered Russian is able at last to confront and deal with his own past. Quirky characters and linguistic byplay insure the book's appeal to sophisticated readers. Littell is the author of An Agent in Place (Bantam, 1991) . -- Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143115533
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 801,776
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Littell was born, raised, and educated in New York. A former Newsweek editor specializing in Soviet affairs, he left journalism in 1970 to write fiction full time. Connoisseurs of the spy novel have elevated Robert Littell to the genre's highest ranks, and Tom Clancy wrote that “if Robert Littell didn’t invent the spy novel, he should have.” He is the author of fifteen novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Company and Legends, the 2005 L.A. Times Book Award for Best Thriller/Mystery. He currently lives in France.

Good To Know

About his past, Littell told us, "No account of my education would be complete without mentioning my four years in the Navy; I served on board the USS John R. Pierce (DD753) where I was, variously, the ship’s navigator, antisubmarine warfare officer, communications officer and deck watch officer. These years were extremely formative for me."
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    1. Hometown:
      Martel, France
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 8, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Alfred University, 1956

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