It Will Come To Me – Emily Fox Gordon

Title: It Will Come to Me
Author: Emily Fox Gordon
ISBN: 9780385525879
Pages: 288
Release Date: March 10, 2009
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

From the dust jacket:

This first novel from the acclaimed memoirist Emily Fox Gordon is a tart, intelligent comedy of manners set on the campus of a large Southern university. It is also a story about the comforts and grievances of a marriage of longstanding—about change and continuity and the possibility of renewal in midlife.

Ben Blau is the reluctant chair of the philosophy department of The Lola Dees Institute, surrounded by a bestiary of academic innocents and opportunists. His wife Ruth—a writer whose early literary success never quite blossomed into a career—nurtures sometimes noisy and sometimes private rebellions against the conventions of academic life. Their lives have settled, if not always comfortably, into a dull ceremonial round of convocations, committee meetings, and pot-luck dinners. To Ruth it seems that nothing will ever change.

Except that this year a new couple has arrived on campus: an ethereal, celebrated young memoirist and her husband, an intellectual jack-of-all-trades and perpetual misfit. Something about these two throws the staid academic world of the Lola Dees Institute into comic chaos and revives Ruth’s hopes that she might become once again the writer she used to be.

Emily Fox Gordon’s astringent depiction of academic life and her mature, finely wrought observations about marriage and relationships make It Will Come to Me is a complete delight —engaging, wise, superbly written, and very, very funny.

I find books about professors on university campuses extremely interesting.  Perhaps it’s because I romanticize the profession, or maybe because I would love nothing better than to be able to be a student for the rest of my life, but I simply love reading books about academia.  When I first heard about It Will Come to Me, I immediately knew I wanted to read it. 

It Will Come to Me is the debut novel of Emily Fox Gordon, who is a memoirist.  Her mastery of her craft really shows in this novel; the characters in It Will Come to Me seem completely real.  Except for the narration shifts, I could have honestly believed I was reading someone’s memoirs.  Gordon has a unique ability to shape and develop characters to their fullest potential. 

Ruth is a very interesting character.  She is very conflicted and has a lot of scars from the difficulties of her past.  At best, she is stuck in the role of a university wife; she hasn’t accomplished anything of her own for some time and just feels useless.  At the beginning of the book, she is obviously bitter and perhaps even an alcoholic – she certainly drinks a lot.  I honestly thought I wouldn’t like her, but for some reason she endeared herself to me despite her faults.  I loved watching her character grow and develop into a more healthy person.

I also liked the secondary storyline of Ruth and Ben’s son.  Their love for him and guilt over what he had become was palpable; you could visualize them questioning every action they had made – did we drive away our son?  It was incredibly well written and I loved the way it turned out.

It Will Come to Me is a very enjoyable book that I recommend to anyone interested in a character study, or for anyone who enjoys books about professors.  It’s well written, engaging, and very easy to read.  Emily Fox Gordon’s foray into fiction was an successful one and I hope we get to hear more from her in the future!

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review!

Comments

  1. I sometimes like reading about the academic life I left, so I’ll keep this one in mind. There is something about the cover that kind of creeps me out.

  2. I sometimes like reading about the academic life I left, so I’ll keep this one in mind. There is something about the cover that kind of creeps me out.

  3. I think this cover’s a hoot! I think this book sounds very interesting!

  4. I think this cover’s a hoot! I think this book sounds very interesting!

  5. I work for a university and I love being around professors and students. There’s just something about learning and intellectual conversation that really makes the job enjoyable. I would probably love this book for that reason. Nice review.

  6. I work for a university and I love being around professors and students. There’s just something about learning and intellectual conversation that really makes the job enjoyable. I would probably love this book for that reason. Nice review.

  7. I’d never heard of this one before, but it sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for the review!

  8. I’d never heard of this one before, but it sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for the review!

  9. I love the cover – glad to see it’s a good one.

  10. I love the cover – glad to see it’s a good one.

  11. I just started this one yesterday…very promising!

  12. I just started this one yesterday…very promising!

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