As someone who logged a lot of years in the academic world, I would highly recommend this wonderful comic novel. The setting is absolutely right on the money. The main character is an English professor at an undistinguished, out of the way state college. Its the kind of school where no one ever thought they would stay as they rocketed up the academic ladder of success but the years rolled by and they're still at the same little college, going nowhere, fighting silly little departmental battles and contending with bored, unmotivated students.
But Russo's novel is about far more than academia. At its heart, the book is about relationships Over the course of the story the man character negotiates complex encounters with his wife, his daughter, the English department secretary who wants to be a novelist, his fellow members of the English department and his mother and father. And in these dealings, he discovers who he is and what he really wants out of life. As with all of Richard Russo's novels this one is brilliantly written, almost poetic in spots, while it hones in on the human condition with all of its comedies and tragedies. A super read.