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Fight for Your Long Day Paperback – October 1, 2010
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''Duffleman is the overeducated Everyman for the age:Â his acute eye for detail and his ironic twist on reality take the reader on this 'A Day in the Life' journey through contemporary America and its moral ambiguities, anxieties, and occasional delights.Â These last must be taken with a smidgen of horseradish to remind us that even imagined sweetness can be sabotaged.''-- Don Riggs, associate teaching professor in the English and philosophy departments of Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa.
''Cyrus Duffleman, dedicated foot soldier of the faculty, aims high but faces frustrations and dangers every teaching day.Â With humor and real understanding, Kudera's novel unflinchingly exposesÂ key paradoxes that lie disturbinglyÂ at the core of American academia today.''-- Anthony Zielonka, French and comparative literature, Assumption College, Worcester, Mass.
''Wow ... Talk about bursting the myth of teaching as a noble profession. Mind-numbing bureaucracy, stifling political correctness, and subsistence-wage pay ... this should be required reading for anyone considering a career in academia.''-- Iain Levison, a comic crime novelist whose published works include A Working Stiff's Manifesto, How to Rob an Armored Car, and Dog Eats Dog
''Like a subway-scholar Ignatius J. Reilly (A Confederacy of Dunces), adjunct instructor Cyrus Duffleman channels the rage of the academic underclass. The torments Duffleman suffers chasing across a light-rail and campus-common Philadelphia show an acute eye for all the absurdity and humiliation doled out over a long day of academic piece-work. Alex Kudera's novel makes lemonade out of the knowledge economy's stingy share of lemons, eking every ounce of catharsis owed to veterans of the core curriculum's front lines.''-- Justin Bauer, books columnist, Philadelphia City Paper
''Are you teaching semi-literate pre-capitalists who will soon be earning more than you ever will? Are you lorded over by self-important, market-minded college administratorsÂ with Cadillac healthÂ plans and six-figure salaries while you wonder if you'll be assigned enough courses next semester to pay rent and utilities? Are you so fed up and desperate that you'll cling to any fantasy, even one that could get you fired? Do you feel forsaken, not just by academia, but by literature itself? Well, finally there's a novel for you! Fight For Your Long Day is an adjunct college teacher's version of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Read it in your book club, give it to your pals, assign it to your gulag work crew, uh, I mean 'your class'...''-- Eric Thurschwell, former adjunct instructor of college math, barely employed calculus tutor, and comic writer published in Philadelphia Stories, Eclectica Magazine, and other literary places
''Duffleman's misadventures will make you laugh out loud, shake your head in dismay, and nod in recognition on every page. I just might have to steal something from this book.'' ---- Aharon Levy, fiction writer whose stories appear online and off in journals such as The Sun and ecotone
''Fight for Your Long Day presents simmering discord and strife through the eyes of Philade --Daniel Dragomirescu, editor-in-chief of Contemporary Literary Horizon magazine, a multilingual and international literary journal based in Bucharest, Romania
''[A]n exposé of academia and the labor that sustains it…the kind of novel one learns from and rallies behind. Eyebrow-raising and wry, Kudera's take on the ivory tower certainly makes it look less pearly white.'' -- ForeWord Reviews
''Cyrus Duffleman and Fight for Your Long Day cast light on [the] situation in which many contingent faculty members find themselves ... I hope the novel is popular enough to make a big change; it has already changed me.'' -- Isaac Sweeney, Academe
''[I]t is not unfair to call Fight For Your Long Day a protest novel, in much the same category of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. And like Sinclair's book, it sounds a note of genuine disgust at economic injustices ... Kudera is an extremely talented and driven novelist. The authenticity of the experience he writes about burns through on each page. The story of Duffleman and his many similarly suffering peers in the real academic world is a plight long overlooked finally getting its deserved attention.'' ---- The Southeast Review
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Top Customer Reviews
Much of the description of how adjunct faculty are abused by their employers is spot on, even though the protagonist is not treated with a whole lot of sympathy by the author. The observations on university administrators and the politics of the 2000's are entertaining, albeit having a President Fern comes across as a contrived attempt at arboreal humor RE Bush. The protagonist's flights of lustful fantasy also get tiresome, not helped by his pathetic attempt to hook up with a student he somehow has assumed could be interested in such a sad character as himself.
All in all this comes close to being a really good book, but in the end lands with a thud in trying to tie the rather absurd assassination plot back into the protagonist's long day. What makes it a worthwhile read is the razor sharp satire throughout. It's a solid 4-star effort, but the various structural weaknesses noted rate the one-star deduction.
What I particularly liked about the main character Cyrus Duffleman is that he is openly race conscious. I happen to believe that 99.9 percent of the people in the United States are highly race conscious. When I hear someone say they are not race conscious, I am baffled. I have many white and black friends. I have extremely close friendships with some white people, and still I am highly conscious of race.
It's striking that some white people who claim they are not conscious of race still somehow--magically as it were--end up living in mostly white neighborhoods, marry white spouses, have sons and daughters who date only white people, go to churches and synagogues that all white. I say these folks are race conscious indeed. Either that, or they have got an incredibly observant race unconsciousness that drives them.
What marks a breakthrough in Fight for Young Long Day is the way Kudera depicts Cyrus Duffleman. Cyrus notices the black students (and their blackness), and he notices the white students (and their whiteness). Black is not "other" and white "normal." In Duffleman's mind, white and black are equally foreign, strange, and worthy of observation and questioning.
If you have ever worked as an adjunct instructor (hired on a per-course basis with no job security), you will recognize the world depicted in Fight for Young Long Day.Read more ›
For sure this is a funny book. But it is also heartbreaking. Two especially heartbreaking things: how much the students, thirsty for education, admire Duffy and how little they grasp how oppressed and unappreciated their teacher is--the title "professor" bandied about to describe "Adjunct Duffleman" tells quite a tale about how clueless are the students about what their tuition is buying. Also heartbreaking, the way that Duffy constantly compares himself to everyone in his life, just to reassure himself of where he stands in the pecking order--to remind himself that there is still some way to fall and that he is worthy of respect. One of his higher ed gigs is supplementing his adjunct paycheck with work as a college security guard, and he cannot help but feel slightly superior to his co-workers, who live truly from paycheck to paycheck, while Duffy "could deposit it all if he wanted to, and he feels a pang of guilt and embarrassment when he dwells too long on this difference.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An amazing novel with well drawn characters. Funny, interesting, like a look into another world, as a good story should be. Thoroughly enjoyable. I would read it twice!Published 5 months ago by Kristin Wolfgang
This book was so boring, I used to read a few pages in bed at night to knock me out and send me into a deep sleep. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Ned Samson
"Adjunct" Cyrus Duffman, humble protagonist of Fight For Your Long Day, is a nearly 40 year old instructor of English at four fictional colleges in Philadelphia. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Eric Gilliland
I just finished Alex Kudera's Fight for Your Long Day, and a line from Irving Howe's 1952 review of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man keeps appearing in my mind: "Too often he tries to... Read morePublished on May 8, 2014 by Mr. Red
Fight for your long day is an interesting and at times poignant book. However, Kudera could be even more compelling. Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by Adjunctspecialist
Everything about this novel is dreary. The protagonist is dreary. The settings are dreary. The writing is dreary. The reader gets no respite from dreary. Read morePublished on April 27, 2013 by raymond gunn
Perfect for disgruntled adjuncts and Philly natives - the gritty slices of Philly life - especially Septa adventures - were great and the bitterness of an adjunct seeps from the... Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by Mekman79
Having been a classmate of Alex Kudera in graduate school 15 years ago, I saw firsthand the intelligence and dedication that he brought to his writing, and I also know that despite... Read morePublished on June 2, 2011 by Michael Rizza
Seems the author may be as miserable as his main character... and it shows on almost every page.
To begin, the story is engaging and sympathetic. Read more