To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Talking Out of School Paperback – December 18, 2008
"My Father, the Pornographer" by Fang Lizhi
A son tries to understand his late father, by reading the 400-plus novels left to him in his father's will. Check out "My Father, the Pornographer".
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"A shockingly honest examination of the academy. Calling this book a feminist critique of higher ed would be to read the book too narrowly given the discussions of class and race. Should be required reading for everyone in academia." --Steve Tomasula, author of The Book of Portraiture
About the Author
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Part of Fleisher's style involves juggling time periods, adding some confusion. The first half of the book loosely covers her childhood and the second half relates her academic career with brief hints at her personal life.
The first part actually was more gripping, although it's a familiar story of childhood abuse.
Fleisher's mother taught English in the same middle school her own children attended. By day, the mother seemed cheerful and competent, even taking on leadership roles. At home, the same woman took out her frustrations on her two helpless children, belittling their value and beating them for trivial and imaginary offenses.
Encouraged by a friend, Kass talked to the school counselor. In what seems to be a colossal breach of ethics, the counselor doesn't identify a conflict of interest. She responds as the mother's colleague. Even worse, she betrays the child's confidence by telling the mother.
Somehow, Kass overcomes a weak undergraduate record earns a Ph.D. It's not clear why she was so clueless about academia. She doesn't realize that the college offering her a three-year visiting "gig" is heavily Mormon. She doesn't know that short recommendation letters send red flags to search committees.
Most important, she doesn't seem to recognize the challenges of the job market for liberal arts professors, especially English professors. Some of her struggles are attributable not to class or gender wars, but to the imbalance of supply and demand. "Cliff Walk" by Don Snyder revealed similar issues for a male English professor.Read more ›
In terms of structure, the text uses a po-mo style with cuts, jumps, and the ever-present use of italics to indicate author "asides," as it were. A better writer, I believe, wouldn't need to resort to this choppy and affected style.
I give the book two stars rather than one, however, because her descriptions of the political in-fighting in academia are spot on.