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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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Small World Paperback – June 1, 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The unbridled greed, pettiness, buffoonery and intellectual gobbledygook in the world of higher scholarship are the topics of this thorough and thoroughly funny roman a' English department. It's interesting for a couple of reasons, aside from its humor and spoofiness: it's an insider's view of things -- always the best kind -- and it takes its old-fashioned time telling a story, complete with reasonable digressions about the state of literary criticism and what may or may not be a realistic view of the academic life.

About the Author

David Lodge is the author of twelve novels and a novella, including the Booker Prize finalists Small World and Nice Work. He is also the author of many works of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction and Consciousness and the Novel.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140244867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140244861
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am an academic and I must say that this book nails the academic world to the wall in a way that is somehow wicked and sweet at the same time. The pretension, the meanness, the self-absorption, the lack of social skills, the pettiness, the competition for attention and glory. All too true.
I especially enjoyed the clever superimposition of the Grail legend on a tale of modern English professors pursuing a UNESCO endowed chair that entails no academic duties. Persse McGarrigle (Percival), the Irish innocent. Morris Zapp (Merlin), the canny but cynical sage. Morgana Fulvia (Morgan le Fay), the decadent, hypocritical Italian witch. They and the others are all here playing their time-honored rolls.
The coincidences come so thick and fast in this book that you very quickly get used to them. It is a good joke to make the entire world as small as academia, a place where you run into the same people again and again whether you want to or not.
It was a pleasure to read a book whose prose was devoid of trickery, over-cleverness and gimmicks. Here is a modern novel in a world increasingly full of post-modern works that are too often little more than cleverly constructed rooms full of mirrors. Lodge makes several funny, well-deserved swipes at post-modernism's negative effect on literary criticism.
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Format: Paperback
I approached this book with a bit of trepidation, which I ought to explain before my review. Small World is sort of a sequel to Nice Work (it has some of the same characters and locations, but doesn't rely on knowledge of its predecessor). I read Nice Work a few years ago and was put off by it. It wasn't that I didn't find the satire on academia to be humorous. Rather, I thought it was a bit tasteless for someone who had spent most of his adult life employed by universities to turn around and write a satire that was (IMO) often bitter to the point of being unfair.
So, I wasn't sure I wanted to read Small World, though I had been assured it was a better book. I am glad I finally overcame my resistance and read it, because it is a much better book; indeed I think it is a very good book.
Small World is also a satire on academia, and while all the jacket blurbs talk about how biting the satire is, I didn't find that to be the case. Lodge seemed much more in tune and sympathetic with his characters, even as he skewers their antics. Also, the attacks in this novel seem less personal and more on literary studies as a profession.
I actually think Lodge has much bigger ambitions in this novel than writing an academic satire. His goal, it seems to me, is to package the history of the novel into a story in the form of an academic satire. So instead of a relatively simple, satirical plot (as in Nice Work), Lodge gives us a multitude of interwoven plots. He has a standard comic plot, but he also has a thriller plot, several varieties of romantic plots, a few mistaken identity plots, a foundling plot, a reunion plot and probably several others I'm forgetting. As the characters move around the world, they move in and out of the various plots.
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Format: Paperback
Small World is the second installment of a trilogy. Basically a satirical send up of academia, the trilogy by and large (well, for the first two installments, anyway) follow a wild cast of characters as the seek sex, fame and fortune along with academic recognition. The First effort, Changing Places, chronicles the adventures of two professors--one English and one American--as the swap assignments for a year.

This installment follows the two, along with a cast of what often feels like thousands, on the convention, conference and lecture circuit.

Lodge is blessed with a wonderfully sardonic and sharp sense of humor and a deep appreciation for farce. These skills are in admirable display in this book. The comedy level matches--possibly even exceeds--that of the first book--which is saying something.

On the whole, though, this is a somewhat less satisfying read. The cast of characters, as previously mentioned, is huge. It's so big it's often difficult to remember who's who. Moreover, the plot is singularly complex. And contrived. That everything is tied up neat as a pin by the end only adds to the level of contrivance.

This is a very clever book--perhaps too clever by half, as the Brits would say.

However, it is hysterically funny. If you are in need of a good laugh--actually, dozens and dozens of good laughs, this should be your cup of tea.
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Format: Paperback
Once you start to read David Lodge, you are hooked and would want more. I started with his newest book "Thinks" and ended up reading him nonstop. So far I have read "Home Truths", "Changin Places", "Practice of Writing" and then "Small World". I plan to read on. "Small World" is the best academic satire I have read; it is funny, pereptive and very true. Even on gloomy sleepless nights, it made me laugh so loud that I constantly startled my two poor dogs. They looked at me with their sleepy eyes and wagged their tails in bewilderment. Too bad to be a dog that you cannot appreciate such good and funny stuff.
Having been a literature student and known many academics, I have been constantly struck by the sense of recognition. Lodge writes with his profound knowledge in literature and and his insight in people in the field of literarute. The pretentiousness in that world is mercilessly satirized. And the holy canon is hilariously and wonderfully parodized.
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