My Education by Susan Choi [PDF]

My Education

Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (July 3, 2013)

An intimately charged novel of desire and disaster from the author of American Woman and A Person of Interest

Regina Gottlieb had been warned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur long before arriving as a graduate student at his prestigious university high on a pastoral hill. He’s said to lie in the dark in his office while undergraduate women read couplets to him. He’s condemned on the walls of the women’s restroom, and enjoys films by Roman Polanski. But no one has warned Regina about his exceptional physical beauty—or his charismatic, volatile wife.

My Education is the story of Regina’s mistakes, which only begin in the bedroom, and end—if they do—fifteen years in the future and thousands of miles away. By turns erotic and completely catastrophic, Regina’s misadventures demonstrate what can happen when the chasm between desire and duty is too wide to bridge.

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2013: You could say Susan Choi’s My Education is a novel of the academy, in which an impressionable graduate student has an affair with an older, charismatic professor; that’s a fair–if misleading and incomplete–description. My Education is more surprising than that because a) the professor with whom the heroine sleeps is not the one you might expect and b) the book is full of pithy observations you can’t stop nodding at, and writing you can’t help underlining. “You’re twenty-one! Do you know what I’d give to be that age again?” Regina’s older lover cries in exasperation. “Do you know what I’d give if you’d stop saying that?” Regina replies. Or: “We sprang into flight like the arrow released from the bow,” Choi writes, when the lovers are discovered nearly in flagrante. Full of brilliantly drawn supporting characters–Regina’s hippie stoner roommate who goes by his surname is a favorite–this sophisticated book is about sophisticated people who may be brainy about arts and letters but are closer to clueless when it comes to the complex affairs of the heart. —Sara Nelson

From Booklist

In September 1992, 21-year-old Regina Gottlieb begins graduate school at an elite East Coast university. She is immediately intrigued by charismatic literature professor Nicholas Brodeur, whose seductive reputation precedes him. Though she is fascinated by Nicholas, it is Nicholas’ remote, mercurial wife, Martha, who inspires an overwhelming passion in Regina. After sharing a charged kiss at a dinner party, Regina pursues Martha with a dogged relentlessness and throws herself into the affair with all the exuberance of youth. Although Martha tries to conceal the relationship from Nicholas and the nanny who helps care for their son, Joachim, Regina is reckless and angry that Martha won’t plan a future with her. PEN/W. G. Sebald Award winner Choi (A Person of Interest, 2008) eventually moves the story ahead by 15 years, allowing Regina to view the consequences of her actions from a decidedly more mature perspective. With a sharp eye and piercing insights, Choi captures the heady romanticism that infuses a youthful love affair before the responsibilities and realities of adulthood set in. This is a masterful coming-of-age novel. –Kristine Huntley

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