Still in Love
Michael Downing (Author)
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Description"By means both wry and warm, Michael Downing elucidates the meaning of the classroom--its space for reflection, rumination, and pause--in a world that doesn't seem to be stopping. Still in Love reminds me why he was one of my favorite professors ever." --Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces This is your chance to enroll in English 10 at highly rated Hellman College--if you can find a place to sit in the fantastically overcrowded classroom. Mark Sternum, whom readers first met in Michael Downing's beloved novel Perfect Agreement, is a veteran teacher. Twenty years older, separated for six months from his longtime lover, and desperate to duck the overtures of double-dealing deans above him and disgruntled adjunct faculty below him, Mark has one ambition every day he is on campus--to close the door and leave the world behind. His escape, however, is complicated by his contentious wrestling match of a relationship with the Professor, the tenured faculty member with whom Mark has cotaught this creative-writing workshop for ten years. The spectacle of their combative academic relationship is a chance for students--all of us--to learn what an amazing arena the classroom can be. Replete with engaging writing exercises, harsh criticism, and contrarian advice, Still in Love is the story of one semester. And it is an urgent reminder that we desperately need classrooms, that those singular, sealed-off-from-the-world sanctuaries are where we learn to love our lives.
January 07, 2025
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About the Author
MICHAEL DOWNING is the author of nine books, including the national bestseller Perfect Agreement; Breakfast with Scot, which was adapted as a feature film; Shoes Outside the Door: Desire, Devotion, and Excess at San Francisco Zen Center; and Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time. A frequent commentator in the national media on Congress and the clocks, he teaches creative writing at Tufts University.
Praise for Still in Love "By means both wry and warm, Michael Downing elucidates the meaning of the classroom--its space for reflection, rumination, and pause--in a world that doesn't seem to be stopping. Still in Love reminds me why he was one of my favorite professors ever." --Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces "Brilliantly sly and ferociously precise. Michael Downing writes about the idiosyncrasies, possibilities, and limitations of the classroom with wit and rare tenderness. Still in Love is a joy." --Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes "This novel is a treasure--at once hilariously funny and genuinely moving. Downing gently pokes fun at university politics and the comedy of manners that every teacher witnesses on a daily basis. But don't be fooled by the laughs. It is also a subtle, exquisite love letter to teaching, students, and the sacred space of the classroom." --Alexandra Zapruder, author of Twenty-Six Seconds "Still in Love is a rare occurrence in the book world, a lyrical and compassionate novel that is whip-smart and laugh-out-loud funny. And filled with terrific characters--a whole college classroom full, each more irresistible than the last. In conferences, lessons, and hallway chats, Downing captures the alchemy of teaching and learning. Along the way, he sounds the complex notes of race, beauty, heartbreak, grammar, gender, mortal illness, and growing up, but we never feel instructed, only enlightened. And deeply moved. Anyone who teaches anything should read this. (And for those in the business, the writing exercises included here are the best I've ever found.) But so should anyone who cares about young people, and learning, and love." --Michelle Blake, author of the acclaimed Lily Connor mysteries "Downing's witty follow-up to Perfect Agreement satisfyingly transports readers to college as teacher Mark Sternum begins winter term at Hellman College in New England . . . In depicting Mark's ordinary semester, Downing poignantly illustrates the dynamics of the college classroom as well as its potential for lasting lessons, making for a resonant campus novel." --Publishers Weekly "Though this is a stand-alone, Downing's loyal readers will appreciate the depth and breadth of Mark's character arc more than 20 years after his introduction, in Perfect Agreement (1997). Depicting striving adjuncts, grade-grubbing students, and smug professors, Downing fearlessly pokes at the least glamorous aspects of academia. Fans of Richard Russo, Francine Prose, and Julie Schumacher's Dear Committee Members (2014) will enjoy Downing's clear-eyed view from the ivory tower." --Booklist