Saturday, 2 April 2016

Never Trust Professors

Never Trust Professors, Life and Death on Campus, is a novel by Donald Read.

Now, I say that is is a novel, but it seems as if it might make uncomfortable reading for some professors as it looks to be a little too close to the truth of saome of our higher seats of academe!

Blackchester University is a somewhat troubled place. There are problems on campus that are making life harder for both students and staff members.

The English and History departments are in a state of war, with the Professors of each department battling and bickering over student numbers and how to increase them.

And, once they have more students, they might like to work out a way to stop the female students falling in love, not only with their fellow students but with the teaching staff. Including the married ones.

And you know what journalists are like. Even a whiff of a sexual scandal at a university gets the prurient side of their dander up and you can almost write the headlines in your mind's eye now, can't you?

And parents read those headlines in the morning papers and fret and worry about what might be happening near or (God forbid!) to their precious little innocent child!

But who can the parents trust for a straight answer? Certainly not the professors for, as the headlines scream: "Never Trust Professors!"

The Daily Express even has a reporter embedded (if you'll pardon that expression!) in the campus.

But what about the stories behind the headlines? The truth behind the common room gossip, the veiled looks and tutting as a certain person walked by?

And what of those who should have known better, but acted as though they didn't?

What happens when a married woman becomes pregnant and the likelihood is that she has been impregnated by a professor? But unfortunately not the professor she is married to.

What would the press make of this scandal? And what of the poor innocent baby in all this muddle and drama?

And what happens when the situation escalates to outright violence?

The book is a satire, true, but it is very sensitively and thoughtfully written by a Professor of History who, like your reviewer when at university heard rumours and saw some rather strange goings on.

The book is £17.99 in hardback and is published by The Book Guild.

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