Geoff Mills

Big Trouble on Little Campus

The Devil and Webster

By

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What happens when college president Naomi Roth, an erstwhile radical whose mantra has always been ‘speak truth to power’, finds herself the subject of a student protest? This is the conflict, both public and personal, at the heart of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s latest novel. At an elite liberal arts college in New England, a ‘halcyon, evolved, rarified, creative, and intellectual college campus, where you are free to learn and nap and make things and have sex and get high and change your fucking gender even’, a disruptive and dangerous force erupts. Thus we are drawn towards a classic motif of the campus novel: paradise disrupted.

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