…in her wry first novel…Emily Fox Gordon gives voice to a too-often-neglected character who lurks at the edges of any campus drama, unseen yet all-seeing: the faculty wife…Gordon's hilarious spin on the inanities of academic life, from the welcome-back potluck supper to the dean's Tapestry Task Force Mission Statement Working Group (TTFMSWG), reassures us that the next generation of the campus novel is alive and kicking.
The Washington Post
Memoirist Gordon ventures into fiction with this mixed academic comedy set at a Texas university. Ruth Blau, a once-promising novelist married to philosophy professor Ben, achieved some acclaim years ago, but she never got around to following it up. When celebrated memoirist Ricia Spottiswoode and her protective husband, Charles Johns, are added to the faculty, Ruth hopes this will give her a chance at the literary life she's dreamed of. In the meantime, Ben suffers when a flaky, fairy-obsessed woman replaces his longtime secretary. Ruth and Ben also try to juggle the demands of their mentally ill son, Isaac, whose only contact with them is through his therapist. The central characters, unfortunately, are too passive and spend most of their time observing each other and what happens around them, and though Gordon's prose is sharp-she particularly excels in scene-setting-the overall effect is one of disconnection: from character to character and writer to reader. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Although a sharp and witty observer of the world around her, Ruth Blau is utterly discontented with her life as a faculty wife at a large Southern university. At the insistence of a therapist, Ruth and her philosophy professor husband, Ben, haven't spoken to their son Isaac in years. Isaac is mentally ill, living on the streets of their community, and his condition shows no progress. Once the promising author of a trilogy of well-received novels, Ruth is now struggling to find self-fulfillment, feeling that "the years go by in circles"; the only change is that [she sinks] into [herself] a little deeper." Her wait for something to happen finally ends when a new couple, a successful young memoirist and her jack-of-all-trades husband, arrive on campus. Readers may wince as they laugh through Ruth's struggles in this well-written debut novel by memoirist Gordon (Mockingbird Years: A Life in and Out of Therapy). An enjoyable read throughout, this is recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/08.]
Frustrated philosophy professor's wife is shaken out of her inertia when a popular young author joins the faculty. With an empty nest and an urgent sense of dissatisfaction, Ruth Blau knows there ought to be more to her life than holding potlucks for socially awkward graduate students-which might explain her tendency to drink too much and do too little. Once the promising author of a satirical trilogy, Ruth hasn't been published in 25 years. She is understandably intrigued, then, by the arrival of photogenic new writer-in-residence Ricia Spottiswoode. A critical and financial success, Ricia brings along her bearish, much older husband Charles, who is also teaching a course at the university. After befriending the eccentric Charles, Ruth finds the courage to pass along to Ricia a draft of a novel she is working on. After so much time out of the game, she is not quite sure what to expect when the younger woman actually reads it. Ruth and husband Ben also struggle privately with the estrangement of their son Isaac, an emotionally disturbed 24-year-old who has chosen to live as a street person, haunting their Texas town in a filthy black coat and wizard's hat. He will only communicate with them via his unconventional Mexican American therapist, causing them to wonder if the therapy (which they pay for) is doing more harm than good. Meanwhile, mild-mannered Ben undergoes a transition of his own as he loses his devoted secretary in a power struggle with the dean. Forced to accept a wildly inappropriate new assistant, he finds himself caught up in a PC nightmare that would be funny were it not so potentially damaging to his career. This debut novel from essayist and memoirist Gordon (Are YouHappy? A Childhood Remembered, 2006, etc.) manages to skewer academia while still respecting a life of the mind. The characters are remarkable, especially the exasperating Ruth, whose insecurities and narcissism consistently stand in her own way. A well-observed and poignant exploration of middle-aged angst. Agent: Elyse Cheney/Elyse Cheney Agency
“This debut novel from essayist and memoirist Gordon manages to skewer academia while still respecting a life of the mind. The characters are remarkable, especially the exasperating Ruth, whose insecurities and narcissism consistently stand in her own way. A well-observed and poignant exploration of middle-aged angst.” —Kirkus Reviews
“We probably didn’t need another comic novel about life at an absurdly bureaucratic and insular American university, but Houston memoirist Emily Fox Gordon gets a pass for her well-honed and earthy satire It Will Come to Me….The book derives great humanity and warmth from its depiction of the couple’s frailty…[a] disarming and perceptive first novel.” —Texas Monthly
“A gentle, knowing satire set on the “quiet Southern campus” of the Lola Dees Institute in Spangler, Texas….Every few pages one is reminded of Fox Gordon’s superior descriptive skill. It Will Come to Me offers both glitter and transcendence.” — Houston Chronicle
“Fox Gordon understands the academic milieu intimately, and Ruth's pithy observations are memorable…What lingers is page after page of Fox Gordon's pithy, insightful observations about baby boomer angst and the (impossible) pursuit of academic happiness.” — Dallas Morning News
“An entertaining comedy of manners…Gordon writes about them with enough grace and humor to break them out of their clichéd archetypes and, with a few clever plot twists and a couple of eccentric minor characters, she creates a charming story of reunion.” — St Louis Post Dispatch
“Sharp and funny academic novel.” — Boston Globe