Stayed up too late last night (but, hey, I HAD slept ALL afternoon!) finishing my book for Wednesday night's book club meeting. Moo by Jane Smiley.
Parts of the book were screamingly funny. And, I think, a fairly accurate skewering of academia. I laughed so hard at the budget cutback scenarios, and the populist "talk tough" governor of the state who kept cutting the budget.
In addition, the governor held out the hope that he would reinstate funds reverted earlier in the fall, and also allow the university budget to grow slightly in FY 90. He suggested, however, that "The people of the state are watching those pinheads, and they had better watch their step." When asked if he meant "eggheads," a common term for university intellectuals, Governor Early said, "Pinheads, eggheads, knuckleheads, what's the difference?"
Written from a very secular, very liberal perspective. Smiley does, however, send up everyone--liberals and conservatives alike. You can tell where her heart lies, though, because while those liberals are satirized, there is a touch of understanding behind the mockery of their foibles. That touch of understanding doesn't reach the conservative or "religious" types that are skewered. The only Christians in the book are, of course, treated as idiots and fools.
At its heart the book seemed sad to me. Everything, everything, everything is shallow--the pursuit of tenure, fame, grants, money, love. There is only a glimmer of hope in love.
I don't think the book club has ever read a book even remotely like this one. It should be interesting to see how the discussion goes......