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It Will Come to Me: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Emily Fox Gordon
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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 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.


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Memoirist Gordon ventures into fiction with this mixed academic comedy set at a Texas university. Ruth Blau, a once-promising novelist married to philosophy professor Ben, achieved some acclaim years ago, but she never got around to following it up. When celebrated memoirist Ricia Spottiswoode and her protective husband, Charles Johns, are added to the faculty, Ruth hopes this will give her a chance at the literary life she's dreamed of. In the meantime, Ben suffers when a flaky, fairy-obsessed woman replaces his longtime secretary. Ruth and Ben also try to juggle the demands of their mentally ill son, Isaac, whose only contact with them is through his therapist. The central characters, unfortunately, are too passive and spend most of their time observing each other and what happens around them, and though Gordon's prose is sharp—she particularly excels in scene-setting—the overall effect is one of disconnection: from character to character and writer to reader. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

In this campus satire, Ben and Ruth Blau have settled into what appears to be a comfortable routine at their Southern university campus. Ruth, mourning her inability to follow up on an acclaimed early trilogy of novels, drinks a little too much; Ben, working on a manuscript about altruism, shirks bureaucratic duties in the philosophy department. Their lives are disrupted by two arrivals: a new president determined to shake up the staid faculty habits and a popular memoirist and self-help author who prods Ruth to begin writing again. Gordon’s début novel aims at predictable targets: departmental politics, obscure academic fields, self-righteousness, and élitism. Her comedy is deft, but the plot seems contrived, particularly when the story of the Blaus’ wayward son draws things to a falsely redemptive close.
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Product Details

  • File Size: 399 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (March 10, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001TSZ6KQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #849,146 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From S. Krishna's Books March 25, 2009
Format:Hardcover
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!

[..]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smart comedy, and a page-turner March 24, 2009
By Cole M.
Format:Hardcover
Emily Fox Gordon's first novel is a sly academic comedy, replete with a hilarious parade of characters anyone who's spent time on a campus will recognize with great satisfaction. It is also the affecting tale of Ruth Blau, a once-accomplished faculty wife who, stranded jaundiced-eyed on the periphery of the college community and devolving into one of its caricatures, desperately seeks and eventually finds relief from her despondency. Readers of this page-turner will admire Ms. Gordon's sharp eye for detail and comic timing, as well as her warm sympathy for all of the delightfully bumbling, posing, maddening characters who populate the Lola Dees Institute. An intelligent read. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny! May 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover
What a fun book! I worked at a small university at one time and this book captures the pettiness, ego centric environment perfectly. I found the ending to be a bit trite but the book was so entertaining, I could easily overlook it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, insightful, and humane March 11, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Emily Fox Gordon is known as the author of two extraordinary memoirs. Readers of her previous work appreciate the crisp precision of her observations, and her sensitive understanding of the different ways in which people suffer. They recognize her wit and her compassion, her exactness and her eloquence.

In her debut novel, Emily Fox Gordon surpasses her earlier work. This is a brilliant novel, remarkable for its insights into the predicament of those who find themselves lost in a world to which they had dimly aspired but which they find that they do not comprehend. Superficially, it is an academic novel, precise and bitingly funny in its exposure of the follies of those who attach themselves to Universities and to Higher Learning. Every page is pregnant with witty apercus and pithy evaluations. Yet the folly of the eccentrics who populate her landscape is not her primary concern. Fox Gordon reveals, as in her earlier memoirs, a profound compassion for the plight of those whose unexpectedly diminished lives she describes. This is, overall, a novel of great compassion, and we leave it, not only with vivid memories of the shortcomings of her central characters, but also with an enormous sympathy for them. Also, perhaps, with hope.

Great academic novels are not common. Great novels are rarer still. This is a book to cherish, partly because its evocation of characters is reminiscent of Dickens' skill in vivid portraits of the eccentric and the grotesque, even more because it has the encompassing sympathy of George Eliot. Readers should be grateful for it -- and for the fact that so distinguished a writer of memoirs has turned her hand to fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Social Commentary and Humor May 26, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book reminds me of Richard Russo's "Straight Man." The writer is very perceptive of human frailties, pretensions, and prejudices. At every turn, she nails the inner workings of people, and the boring and stilted people of academia. The protagonist, Ruth, a once highly acclaimed author, has been worn down by a troubled son, and the atmosphere of a small college in Texas where her husband is employed. The lonely outsider, she struggles with motivation to write, and drinks too much.
It is very funny, but there is considerable empathy for human suffering, and yet it also considers the callousness or duplicity with which it can be met. There is a redemptive ending which was a little too tidy, but I would heartily recommend it. This is wonderful book of social commentary.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty disappointing . . .
I bought this book after reading a review of it in People magazine. I went to a couple of bookstores that didn't have it in stock, but offered to order it for me. Read more
Published on October 1, 2010 by Jen T
2.0 out of 5 stars Not funny
I was surprised that this book had so many positive reviews. I thought the book was flat, I thought it was supposed to be funny but it was just sad. The ending... Read more
Published on August 19, 2009 by N. McKinney
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but not great
I'm rather surprised by all the enthusiastic reviews for this novel. Gordon certainly writes well and is particularly adept at descriptions of both people and settings. Read more
Published on May 27, 2009 by MarMay
3.0 out of 5 stars Cynical book, too optimistic of an ending
I enjoyed more than 3/4 of "It Will Come to Me" despite (or is it because of?) the fact that its main character is a woman who is drifting late in life and is obviously profoundly... Read more
Published on May 21, 2009 by Massimo Pigliucci
3.0 out of 5 stars Occasional pithiness is insufficient (3.25 *s)
Set at fictional Lola Dees Institute, a relatively small college in Spangler, Texas, this novel is pretty much a predictable retelling of the pettiness, insularity, and... Read more
Published on May 1, 2009 by J. Grattan
5.0 out of 5 stars water for a parched soul
I may be one of the "Women" that Gordon describes so aptly, but I don't care. I may not be one of them, too, and I still don't care. Read more
Published on April 18, 2009 by J E Besmehn
5.0 out of 5 stars An Entirely Original Take on Academia, Marriage, and Writing
Appreciative readers of Emily Fox Gordon's two memoirs will be dazzled by her first novel, IT WILL COME TO ME. Read more
Published on April 5, 2009 by Gail D. Storey
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