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When Vic Wilcox, MD of Pringle's engineering works, meets English lecturer Dr Robyn Penrose, sparks fly as their lifestyles and ideologies collide head on. But, in time, both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other's worlds - and about themselves. When Vic Wilcox, MD of Pringle's engineering works, meets English lecturer Dr Robyn Penrose, sparks fly as their lifestyles and ideologies collide head on. But, in time, both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other's worlds - and about themselves.


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When Vic Wilcox, MD of Pringle's engineering works, meets English lecturer Dr Robyn Penrose, sparks fly as their lifestyles and ideologies collide head on. But, in time, both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other's worlds - and about themselves. When Vic Wilcox, MD of Pringle's engineering works, meets English lecturer Dr Robyn Penrose, sparks fly as their lifestyles and ideologies collide head on. But, in time, both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other's worlds - and about themselves.

30 review for Nice Work

  1. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    In this witty novel, Lodge engineers a confrontation between Robyn, a young, left-wing female literary theorist, and Vic, an older, conservative, senior manager type. There's a government initiative where Robyn is supposed to "shadow" Vic one day a week, an arrangement that initially neither of them can stand. Each of them thinks the other's world is absurd and pointless. I liked the book partly because I have also spent my professional life flitting between industry and academia. I can absolute In this witty novel, Lodge engineers a confrontation between Robyn, a young, left-wing female literary theorist, and Vic, an older, conservative, senior manager type. There's a government initiative where Robyn is supposed to "shadow" Vic one day a week, an arrangement that initially neither of them can stand. Each of them thinks the other's world is absurd and pointless. I liked the book partly because I have also spent my professional life flitting between industry and academia. I can absolutely understand Vic's criticisms of academics. They're helplessly disorganised; most of what they do makes no sense and is just empty posturing; they're trapped in a rigid power structure, where the people in charge are mostly tenured professors whose minds atrophied long ago; and why are they inflicting all this pain on themselves anyway, when there's no money to be made? But Robyn's criticisms of the business world also make sense. They're equally trapped by the constant requirement to turn a profit, so they never have time to reflect on whether things could be different. Ultimately, what they do makes no more sense than academia. It's amusing to see each character's life through the other's eyes, and I particularly liked the ironic presentation of Robyn's feminist views on sex and relationships. (She can explain to you, with footnotes from Lacan, why "love" is just a bourgeois construct, and she thinks penetrative sex is wrong on theoretical grounds). But the passages that have most firmly struck in my memory have to do with literary theory. Lodge just adores literary theory, and he is so ingenious about working bits of it into his novels so that you can also appreciate what a fun game it is. There's a discussion near the end about the technical concept of "aporia". Robyn is explaining it to Vic, and she quotes the following line from Tennyson's Locksley Hall:Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.As she says, the line brilliantly exploits the novel image provided by railways, which had just been invented. (Stevenson's "Rocket" was built in 1829; Tennyson wrote the poem in 1835). But there's a problem. Trains don't run in grooves, but on rails, so the image is fatally flawed. Despite this, it's still a great line! Robyn has clearly used the example many times before in academic settings. But Vic asks whether Tennyson might not have been thinking of trams, which do run in grooves? Hm! That hadn't occurred to her. I thought of this discussion the other day when we watched Despicable Me. My favourite scene was the one where Gru, the supervillain with the well-hidden heart of gold, has been persuaded to read Sleepy Kittens to the three little orphan girls. The text, presented in its entirety, is purposely constructed to be as idiotic and saccharine-sweet as possible. Gru starts reading:Three little kittens loved to play They had fun in the sun all day"This is GARBAGE!" growls the supervillain. "You LIKE reading this?" It is garbage. But the film shows you how the little girls see it, and for them it's the story they've had read to them every day at bedtime. They view it uncritically, and for them it's full of love and comfort. Gru unwillingly continues to read, stroking the kittens' fur and making them drink their milk as instructed, and by the end he's been won over. Even so, it's still garbage. Is this another example of aporia? Damned if I know: my knowledge of literary theory is pretty much limited to what I've gleaned from David Lodge novels. But I wished Robyn and Vic had been sitting next to us, so I could have listened to them bickering about it on the way out.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    In Nice Work David Lodge introduces the campus novel to the 19th century industrial novel. The excuse for this unnatural pairing is a work exchange scheme and true to the late 1980s setting the basic assumption is the Lecturer from a thinly disguised Birmingham University English department has plenty to learn from industry, while the opposite, not not never, could be so. Lust, however, intervenes to shake up all the best laid plans of mice and men... Background splashes of colour from the indust In Nice Work David Lodge introduces the campus novel to the 19th century industrial novel. The excuse for this unnatural pairing is a work exchange scheme and true to the late 1980s setting the basic assumption is the Lecturer from a thinly disguised Birmingham University English department has plenty to learn from industry, while the opposite, not not never, could be so. Lust, however, intervenes to shake up all the best laid plans of mice and men... Background splashes of colour from the industrial setting make an interesting contrast with 19th century industrial novels like North and South or Hard Times. Here that earlier boundless self confidence has been replaced by a rearguard action fought against seemingly inevitable industrial decline. Ah, actually due to the almost divine intervention of Melvin Bragg. I had a thought about this. To wit the 19th century took notice of the emergence of industrial Britain and novelists including a Bronte, Gaskell, Dickens, among others sought to explain it and give warning (view spoiler)[ new values!, new politics!, new gender relations!, organised Labour! Immigration!, new power structures! (hide spoiler)] to the rest of the country dozing in its rural idle watching herds of yokels fumble with steam machinery. Lodge, true professor of English literature that he was, applied North and South to the boundless faith of the Thatcher era in entrepreneurship in the face of the realities which determined the experience of asset stripping and being out performed on a quality basis by more or less everyone. On which basis it amuses me here that the male main character - or hero- drives a Jaguar, a former boss of mine did too, it would be an exaggeration to say that his car was constantly broken down, seen plainly it was occasionally sufficiently functional for him to be able to drive it to the nearest garage. It gave every indication of consuming replacement parts as I do bread, except with slightly less mercy. The lead female character - or heroine is a southerner, she functions as his muse or perhaps Athena to his Odysseys, she is certainly to read as divine in her beauty and temper, this is however a literary joke since her narrative function is to be the Deus ex machina (view spoiler)[ pray kind readers excuse the incorrect gender (hide spoiler)] in a 'realistic' ie believable way in a modern novel by virtue of an inheritance which as a good Goddess (view spoiler)[ and she is very much described as though she stepped down from Mount Olympus into the book (hide spoiler)] out of the machine should saves the day for British industry and allows for the revival of fictionalised industrial Birmingham. Cunning reworking of Lizzie Gaskell's novel with added literary jokes and a university. But rather like the Borges story of the man who rewrote Don Quixote dragging North and South into the late 20th century casts a grim light on the Thatcher era, while Gaskell felt that romance could unite the country and love lead to mutual respect and understanding, Lodge offers divine intervention as the only hope for manufacturing revival putting me in mind of the Phoenix consortium - although that came much later.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: one disgusted star of five The Publisher Says: Vic Wilcox, a self-made man and managing director of an engineering firm. has little regard for academics, and even less for feminists. So when Robyn Penrose, a trendy leftist teacher, is assigned to "shadow" Vic under a goverment program created to foster mutual understanding between town and gown, the hilarious collusion of lifestyles and ideologies that ensues seems unlikely to foster anything besides mutual antipathy. But in the course of Rating: one disgusted star of five The Publisher Says: Vic Wilcox, a self-made man and managing director of an engineering firm. has little regard for academics, and even less for feminists. So when Robyn Penrose, a trendy leftist teacher, is assigned to "shadow" Vic under a goverment program created to foster mutual understanding between town and gown, the hilarious collusion of lifestyles and ideologies that ensues seems unlikely to foster anything besides mutual antipathy. But in the course of a bumpy year, both parties make some surprising discoveries about each other's worlds--and about themselves. My Review: Annoying git meets termagant. They hate each other, they...oh what's the difference, everyone knows what happens, and frankly who the hell cares? I detested this book, I thought the author's pseudo-arch (how's that for a horrid combination?) faux Firbank twaddle was the literary equivalent of thorazine. Do not purchase. If given as a gift, get the fireplace tongs and remove it from your living environment. DO NOT BURN as the miasma could prove lethal to small children. Not recommended. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fonch

    Fondly dedicated to Manny. Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know if I'll have time to finish this review as you waited this Friday, but I'll make an effort. My passion for collecting Catholic writers took me to the track of Englishman David Lodge, I came to him online, but I remember a very sympathetic anecdote, that Jack Valero https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... , who was very present at the canonization of St. John Henry Newman https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... came to Valladolid, s Fondly dedicated to Manny. Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know if I'll have time to finish this review as you waited this Friday, but I'll make an effort. My passion for collecting Catholic writers took me to the track of Englishman David Lodge, I came to him online, but I remember a very sympathetic anecdote, that Jack Valero https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... , who was very present at the canonization of St. John Henry Newman https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... came to Valladolid, specifically to the Faculty of Medicine to present a Catholic apologetic movement due to the dialectical defeat that Catholics suffer in a television program in which Cardinal Pell, Anne Widecombe, against Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... of defeat was resented as a phoenix, and a Catholic Voices Group founded by Austen Ivereigh was formed earlier https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... and Jack Valero went to that conference, not only to see how Catholicism was doing in England, but also to expand my collection. The second goal was a sound failure :-(. When I asked jack Valero about the current writers, and I told Piers Paul Read https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Sara Maitland https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... or David Lodge did not seem to know them, or considered them inferior to the writers of the Catholic Renaissance, although she confessed to me that she liked Evelyn Waugh https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... the evidence seemed to give her the reason Maitland, maybe she was too feminist for me, and Lodge belongs to these cultural Catholics, who do not practice their faith . Non-practicing Catholic. As a priest in a sermon said, it was like saying an athlete who doesn't run. It was an oxymoron that was proposed. Nor did my vision of Lodge improve when I read him his book "The Art of Fiction" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... because for me to like certain writers I had to stop liking some. More than half of the writers i was telling me about, it's not that I was disliked, it was that I directly hated them. It was in the embodiment of everything I fought against. So my soul fell to my feet. But when I saw this book in a second-hand bookstore, I remembered Lodge and decided to give it a try. In addition this novel "A nice work" was recommended by two writers who I am passionate about at least one of them Anthony Burgess https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... and Kingsley Amis had long wanted to read "Lucky Jim" although he did not support your child https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Besides, the story was very interesting. A struggle of the sexes between a conservative entrepreneur named Vic Wilcox and a university professor Robyn Penrose (as the scientist of the same surname) feminist, atheist, poststructuralist, and socialist follower of Lacan, Saussare, Derrida, and a lot of impostors and false factories that have been to me the way of seeing those responsible for the decline of Europe, and western civilization, and hopefully, that they will soon fall into oblivion All this was happening in 1980s England in the Tatcher era in a fictional county, as barchester could be https://www.goodreads.com/series/5671... is curious, because while I read it and thought of Vic Wilcox, I couldn't stop think he bore many similarities to Babbitt https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... Sinclair Lewis. Both middle-class members, living in a fictional town (Zenith in the case of Sinclair Lewis's novel) conservative, religious, but not too much, Protestants, and though they don't seem like it they both felt a certain weary about the situation, and were kind of tired about the situation, and were kind of tired routine, marriage, and children. My sympatheticities were logically with Vic, although as a member of the university stuff I also understood Robyn Penrose's position. It's funny Paul Johnson shrewdly targeted England was more focused on class struggle, and America on sex struggle, as he noted brilliantly in "Humorists" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9... so it seemed very rare to find a novel like this. But what can I say, it was hilarious satire. As Tintin's famous twin cops would say, I'd say more transcinde the satire. Lodge not only attacks the ferocious capitalofy of Vic Wilcox Pringle's company, it does so without falling into the demagogues of Robyn Penrose, also Lodge, who is a university professor is reflective about the situation of universities, and whether the welfare state has failed , also reproaches them, that they have moved away from the real world. This debate is very much alive. Wilcox's children are not very different from the ninis, or the millennials, also the atmosphere that describes and the crisis of Tatcherism is very similar to the economic crisis that we have experienced, and that has already warned sailors will return and with greater force. But most of all one of the things, which I liked most about this novel, besides the current thing that it is (since it ages very well) is to show one thing, and is that, although one may have an opposite political tendency with another person one can come to agreement , to understand oneself with a person, and even to become friends. He watched with sadness, as one of the evils, that I observe apart from secularism is the enormous crunch of the people, and how politicians take advantage of the population, to divide them, and to confront them. It is what the great writer Juan Manuel de Prada has defined as Demogresca (I don't know how it will be translated into English perhaps demoquarrel) https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... and then it turns out that between them they agree to raise their pay, and benefit themselves, and the population as divided or bipolarized lets them continue with their dirty handling, and thus they gain power, and they break among the common people friendships , alliances, courtships, and tensions grow within one's family (already quite punished with divorce, and with the steril war of the sexes that we want to impose through the law of sexist violence, or gender). What they are least interested in is protecting women, what is sought is to create hostility between the sexes, and that people do not marry, and do not have children so that they can be exploited more easily. It is very interesting the attack that Lodge makes, against pornography, and the cosification of women. Even if it's through the feminist Robyn Penrose. Who would say it now who is more pro-pornography to liberals is the left itself who is supported by sex lobbyists supports pornography, and uses it in the campaign, as it is a way of controlling society (this is seen in the character of Marion Russell , and Vic's secretary's daughter). The characters are well described, both Robyn Penrose's lover, who live free anti-bourgeois love and if she were an Alexandra Kollontai with Charles. Also well portrayed is the brother broker of her and the snoblous of the left. Look at Robyn's prejudices toward Debbie for talking Cockney. Rector Swallow, Rupert Sutcliffe, Busby, are very well portrayed. On Vic's side is very well portrayed the character of Brian Everly. It is also very interesting to compare the evolution of Mr. Wilcox, and as pringles' business world dehumanizes Penrose to say that it is like a mutt fight for a bone. Perhaps the least interesting thing is the predictable romance between the protagonists, which was the least i liked, downbringing it down to a vulgar "Salmon Fishing in Yemen" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... which is the embodiment of political correctness couple indifferent to religion, liberality with adultery being able to solve the symbol of marriage, and break up with a boyfriend, who is a war hero, not to mention the political choreography embodied by the prince Yemeni with his understanding, benevolent Muslim mysticism. I recognize, there was a moment, that I was about to fail "Nice work" but here's Lodge's genius. As Chesty would say https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... "He's big as Napoleon" despite this the characters never stopped being interested, and loved ones. It's true that I would have liked to see Wilcox more in college. But I, who suffered a loving disappointment, know how a man who has had his heart broken feels, and that's what happened to Wilcox, it's awesome what he does to get Penrose's attention, and try to win her back. In the end, each of them reverses their personality, and brings out the best in the other. Apart from that Lodge who is also a University Professor, in fact, they say that when he talks about literary theory he is a Jekyll, but that he transforms into a Hyde, when he writes his novels, and that's when I love it. In the conversations between Robyn Penrose and Penny Black he has captured the woman with her greatness, and her miseries. It is also wonderful as interleave and puts Victorian writers into his novel without squealing the novel. To contrast The utilitarian, conservative, and capitalist world of Wilcox, and the communist, feminist and sixty-yochist of Robyn Penrose. I can't say lodge's mastery prevented a sung suspense, and gave it the right ending, which reminded me of the one who gave Piers Paul Read to his characters in "The Professor's Daughter" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8... e . It also gives a worthy ending to some characters, which the reader never ceases to want, although I professed ideas opposite to that of the characters. It would be nice, that the Lodge formula will be copied, and a Shadow project will be devised. This novel should be admired and appreciated by all kinds of audiences especially by entrepreneurs, and responsible academic world. A masterpiece for all time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    K

    Don't take my four stars as a wide endorsement -- I recognize that not everyone would enjoy this as much as I did (especially with the tiny print -- I really am getting old). But I'll tell you about the book, and about why I appreciated it. I've now read a few novels which would fall into a category I recently discovered -- a "novel of ideas." My sense of these novels is that plot, and certainly characterization, unfortunately tend to be secondary to setting up debates between characters represen Don't take my four stars as a wide endorsement -- I recognize that not everyone would enjoy this as much as I did (especially with the tiny print -- I really am getting old). But I'll tell you about the book, and about why I appreciated it. I've now read a few novels which would fall into a category I recently discovered -- a "novel of ideas." My sense of these novels is that plot, and certainly characterization, unfortunately tend to be secondary to setting up debates between characters representing particular viewpoints and having the two sides hash it out. I enjoy debates and ideas as much as the next person and probably more than some, but they're not what I read a novel for. I'm not opposed to including them as long as plot and characterization are done well. That has not been the case in most of the "novels of ideas" I've read. This book was an exception. This was actually a story(!) about a struggling temporary professor who ends up shadowing a factory manager, each of whom had their own layered personality and set of circumstances, and about the complicated relationship which develops between them. Yes -- there was a focus on the relative merits and demerits of academia versus industry, a topic frequently debated by the central characters. At the same time, I never felt like I was reading a polemic rather than a novel. And unlike many other novels of ideas I've read, the debates were actually interesting and engaging in their own right rather than feeling like a boring-ish distraction from a non-existent story. It's probably not the easiest book to get into, and it was written in the 80s which makes it a bit dated and quaint. But I ended up enjoying it, and I think others might as well.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    This book, as its been said by many, is a brilliant piece of social commentary. What is less often said is that it follows in the tradition of many a great title - Mrs Gaskell's Mary Barton and North and South, , Forster's Howards End, Charlotte Bronte's Shirley and Dicken's Hard Times to name a few - as a "Condition of England Novel" (you can read more on that here: http://www.victorianweb.org/genre/din...). The titles I mention are studied by Robyn Penrose in novel, herself an expert in the Co This book, as its been said by many, is a brilliant piece of social commentary. What is less often said is that it follows in the tradition of many a great title - Mrs Gaskell's Mary Barton and North and South, , Forster's Howards End, Charlotte Bronte's Shirley and Dicken's Hard Times to name a few - as a "Condition of England Novel" (you can read more on that here: http://www.victorianweb.org/genre/din...). The titles I mention are studied by Robyn Penrose in novel, herself an expert in the Condition of England genre. (Note 'Howard's End' in particular, for 'Nice Work' is often considered a modernisation of the text - the similarities having read both are endless). I read this book as part of my studies on the Condition of England Novel, and if I'd seen it in a bookshop I doubt I'd have picked it up. All the worse for me. Its a very interesting book written at a very turbulent time in British industry and education. I would recommend some background reading on the Thatcher period if you draw a blank on the subject, otherwise the book itself would be sufficient. The interactions between Robyn Penrose and Vic Wilcox, their relationship, and each on their own, are fascinating characters who struggle to see eye-to-eye, and it is the challenge that presents that makes them so drawn to each other. I also enjoy the sojourns into each characters little world. If I'm honest, I am much more sympathetic to Robyn - that may be because she's female and has similar values to mine, but ultimately I think its because we come from the same 'cultured' world of academia. I, like her, have no real experience of industry aside from growing up in a mining town and seeing the affects that can have on a community. My only criticism of the book is its ending. As with all Condition of England novels, their is no real solution. As Robyn herself says: "In short, all the Victorian novelist could offer as a solution to the problem of industrial capitalism were: a legacy, a marriage, emigration or death." Its the get-out solution; Robyn got her legacy (and a shot at emigration). I'm not quite sure what Vic got, but his marriage seemingly improved.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    The last in what is loosely termed "The Campus Trilogy" by David Lodge. The books are only distantly linked, it's nice to read them in order but not strictly necessary, and each can stand on it's own two feet, I believe. This time we follow two very different characters. Robyn is an idealist: a feminist professor of literature, in a non-relationship with her long-time partner, Charles. Vic is a man's man: a managing director of a factory, macho, hard-working, a laborer who has money because he's The last in what is loosely termed "The Campus Trilogy" by David Lodge. The books are only distantly linked, it's nice to read them in order but not strictly necessary, and each can stand on it's own two feet, I believe. This time we follow two very different characters. Robyn is an idealist: a feminist professor of literature, in a non-relationship with her long-time partner, Charles. Vic is a man's man: a managing director of a factory, macho, hard-working, a laborer who has money because he's in management. He's married with three kids and drives a company car. They meet in a fiery clash of wills. Robyn's University signs her up for a shadow program - once a week she travels to the factory as Vic's shadow. She follows him everywhere and watches him work. They immediately get into numerous arguments about work, wages, unions, strikes, working conditions, and labor laws. At first put off by her staunch, loud, in-your-face feminism, Vic slowly finds himself increasingly charmed by her intelligence, courage, brashness, and independence. For her part, Robyn is receiving a crash course on 'the real world', away from the vaulted towers of intellectualism. She learns some hard lessons about industry and cutting corners and looking at the big picture. In turn, Vic is learning to value the individual, and see that justice and learning are valuable things. This isn't some sappy romance. Even though Vic and Robyn start falling for one another, they are real people with real lives and real problems. Vic is married, Robyn is with Charles in an 'open' relationship that isn't so open since they're both only seeing each other. Both characters have to struggle with having their worldview altered, and have to go through the pain of rethinking long-held beliefs. Not only do they share viewpoints, looking at the world through each other's eyes, but they also (by the end of the novel) switch financial statuses. I really like how Lodge treated his characters, making them stubborn and vulnerable. Neither was anywhere close to perfect, and seeing their small drama played out was very realistic and touching. No Mary Sues, Gary Stus or pat endings here. This is also a comedy, of sorts. While this is not nearly as funny as some other books by Lodge, this book has a kind of lighthearted tone that makes it easier to read than if Lodge were preaching to us. THERAPY is still Lodge's best novel and the one you should read if you have to choose one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Guenevere

    Smart book. Very clever. Lots of moments of, 'ooooooh, I see what you did there!' Wildly feminist professor meets traditionalist industrial business man via crazy shadow scheme in time of state budget cuts and overall economic downturn. Riddled with literary references and social critique focused on academic life, industry, and business practices it also includes clever commentary on gender roles and family dynamics. Smart book. Very clever. Lots of moments of, 'ooooooh, I see what you did there!' Wildly feminist professor meets traditionalist industrial business man via crazy shadow scheme in time of state budget cuts and overall economic downturn. Riddled with literary references and social critique focused on academic life, industry, and business practices it also includes clever commentary on gender roles and family dynamics.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    I loved this social comedy, sex comedy, academia vs industry political satire. I loved it in spite of or maybe because of the fact it couldn't have shouted 1980s any louder if it had bought a pair of leg warmers and a Jane Fonda workout video ( on Betamax, naturally). It also feels like it was Lodge's answer to an A level Sociology exam question. "Imagine a left wing academic and a right wing industrialist spending time together. What could they each learn from the other's diametrically opposed I loved this social comedy, sex comedy, academia vs industry political satire. I loved it in spite of or maybe because of the fact it couldn't have shouted 1980s any louder if it had bought a pair of leg warmers and a Jane Fonda workout video ( on Betamax, naturally). It also feels like it was Lodge's answer to an A level Sociology exam question. "Imagine a left wing academic and a right wing industrialist spending time together. What could they each learn from the other's diametrically opposed ideology?" Lodge obviously passed the exam with flying colours, especially as he added his own gender twist, making Vic Wilcox, the Midlands Engineering MD a conventional staid married man and Dr Robyn Penrose, the lecturer on Women's studies, especially the 19th century Industrial novel, a flame-haired, Pre-Raphaelite object of desire. Too cute for its own good at times, but it absolutely skewers so many of the issues of the time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Funny, moving and, in the long run, feel good. Vic Wilcox a workaholic managing director of a small engineering firm who is opinionated, dismissive and seeking to be upwardly mobile for the sake of his wife ends up sharing his Wednesdays with a ' shadow' from the local University on a project to get business and university inter-relating. (A tad prophetic Mr Lodge). The shadow in question is a self-opinionated, elitist snob called Robyn Penrose who specializes in English literature but especiall Funny, moving and, in the long run, feel good. Vic Wilcox a workaholic managing director of a small engineering firm who is opinionated, dismissive and seeking to be upwardly mobile for the sake of his wife ends up sharing his Wednesdays with a ' shadow' from the local University on a project to get business and university inter-relating. (A tad prophetic Mr Lodge). The shadow in question is a self-opinionated, elitist snob called Robyn Penrose who specializes in English literature but especially women studies. The stage is set but rather than it being a tired rehash of archetypes and obvious clashes this is a clever challenge; Well it was to me. It made me stop mid sigh or eyebrow raise at something one or other of them was saying when you suddenly start hearing them thinking or questioning themselves and then I found myself thinking oh actually you have a point or I found I began to warm to them as Lodge has created two really attractive personalities. A man and a woman with faults and frailties who came across as genuine seekers after the right thing to say and do. There were all sorts of issues raised; amongst them, the elitist use of language and concept, the blind alley of aggressive posturing in disputes, the need for continual exploration of relationships, especially those we think we have sorted. I really enjoyed this novel. Funny, thought provoking and oddly topical even though written almost 25 years ago

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    The cap to David Lodge's Campus Trilogy is neither as neat nor as funny as its predecessors, but Nice Work is not without its enticements. The melding of the Rummidge University with its grey industrial heart is a firm idea, and Lodge handles matters of class differences astutely. The two lead characters are sympathetic in their own separate ways and are justifiably drawn together, and Lodge foreshadows their conclusions without being obnoxious about it. Probably the most interesting point that The cap to David Lodge's Campus Trilogy is neither as neat nor as funny as its predecessors, but Nice Work is not without its enticements. The melding of the Rummidge University with its grey industrial heart is a firm idea, and Lodge handles matters of class differences astutely. The two lead characters are sympathetic in their own separate ways and are justifiably drawn together, and Lodge foreshadows their conclusions without being obnoxious about it. Probably the most interesting point that Lodge has to make is that neither of his leads approaches issues of immigration and race from the "right" angle, each condescending in their own separate ways. Lodge refuses to provide real answers for these character's prejudices and shows that even good intentions can be demeaning in their own way. However, as a result we end up with a book that is more nice than it is sharp, whose ending is swathed in a blanket of possibly baseless hope rather than the harsh reality that had loomed over it from the start.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    The best of Lodge's novels that I have read to date. It sounds like the stuff of reality TV shows: pampered academic woman shadows crass businessman. But the result is completely convincing and comes off without stereotypes and melodrama. Lodge has done his homework on industry and uses it deftly, never becoming showy or obvious. It is nice, too, to read a novel that shows its characters actually working; and it works up to a qualified optimism. Never understood why Lodge bothers with all the su The best of Lodge's novels that I have read to date. It sounds like the stuff of reality TV shows: pampered academic woman shadows crass businessman. But the result is completely convincing and comes off without stereotypes and melodrama. Lodge has done his homework on industry and uses it deftly, never becoming showy or obvious. It is nice, too, to read a novel that shows its characters actually working; and it works up to a qualified optimism. Never understood why Lodge bothers with all the subterfuge about the setting. It's Birmingham in all but name.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Callie

    This book changed the way I thought about people in industry vs. academia. Definitely worth a read. Plus it's really funny. This book changed the way I thought about people in industry vs. academia. Definitely worth a read. Plus it's really funny.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Phrodrick

    It was the Campus Trilogy that hooked me on David Lodge and Nice work is the third selection. The earlier books contrasted American and British college life as experienced in the early 1970's. Lodge built his humor on the vast difference between California College life and Industrial town college life in England. In the Second Book, Small World, this contrast has dimmed in favor of the life of a "Road Scholar"; that is that portion of the international professorial elite that work the academic c It was the Campus Trilogy that hooked me on David Lodge and Nice work is the third selection. The earlier books contrasted American and British college life as experienced in the early 1970's. Lodge built his humor on the vast difference between California College life and Industrial town college life in England. In the Second Book, Small World, this contrast has dimmed in favor of the life of a "Road Scholar"; that is that portion of the international professorial elite that work the academic conference circuit. The pattern Lodge teaches us to expect is that there is humor in contrasting points of view. Adjectives need not be harsh to paint a critical picture and that being slyly judgmental can be as powerful as being overtly negative. If you have no patience for academia or for the discussion of some fairly esoteric topics, Nice Work will try your patience. In Nice Work we have academia acting as background for a meet up between an extreme, feminist college academic and an equally extreme capitalistic factory president. Visiting Australian professor Robyn Penrose teaches 19th-century literature at the Lodges invented University of Rummidge. She also ascribes to virtually every left wing shibboleth and back them with an impressive intellectual ferocity. Via a town and gown program to match University lecturers with corporate leaders she will shadowed by and in turn shadow Vic Wilcox, managing director of Pringle's, an industrial casting company located in the neighboring Industrial corridor. Wilcox is as classic as a capitalist as Penrose is liberal. His concerns are making money and mostly ignoring his materialistic and superficial wife and being confused by his wasteful progeny. Loge accomplishes in a relatively brief novel is reminiscent of the fun we have watching the rough edge Spencer Tracy and play against the always more sophisticated Katharine Hepburn. What carries the book beyond this level is the Lodges willingness to make his characters multi -dimensional, sympathetic and sensitive. Each learns to understand and appreciate the other. We see both the weaknesses and the essential goodness in the both leading characters. This is a light novel, but it will ask that you follow some important concepts and by the end watch as each character has to face a very real crises. Rummidge is clearly based on Birmingham, once a major industrial center, now, not so much. Universities have never been a certain place for funding and special programs. These realities are also woven into Lodges humorous word. Almost all of Lodge's novels can be criticized as being dated. The Campus Trilogy assumes you have an almost insiders appreciation of the world of Academia. Nice Work, in particular calls out a number of politicians whose names will have little resonance with readers in 2014 and less in the future. In the past he has written about Catholic married life before the pill and always there are elements of his books tied to a time and place. Not to class Lodge with the greatest. How does one deal with the Science Fiction writers whose worlds are not of any kind previously known? Accept that Lodge is taking you to a setting best known to him, and enjoy his wry and intelligent appreciation for the strengths and foibles of a place and time not so extremely unlike your own. Even as Nice Work is the end of Lodges Campus Trilogy it looks to be the beginning of a shift in the kinds of novels Lodge has since published. The humor that sustains Nice Work will give way to more serious considerations of aging, and of the legacy of writers. I find I like Lodge in either frame of mind.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jacquelynn Luben

    I read Nice Work before, a long time ago, but I still found that the humour tickled me on the first couple of pages: the wife’s bedside reading – Enjoy your Menopause – and her pride in her en suite are two gems. I loved the fact that one of the loos was avocado – a joke that was possibly lost on me, twenty years ago. Nice Work is an intelligently written novel, the conflict between the two main protagonists being a sort of representation of right and left politics of the UK. But Robyn and Vic do I read Nice Work before, a long time ago, but I still found that the humour tickled me on the first couple of pages: the wife’s bedside reading – Enjoy your Menopause – and her pride in her en suite are two gems. I loved the fact that one of the loos was avocado – a joke that was possibly lost on me, twenty years ago. Nice Work is an intelligently written novel, the conflict between the two main protagonists being a sort of representation of right and left politics of the UK. But Robyn and Vic don’t fit so precisely into those roles, for as time passes, you see more subtlety in their personalities. Vic wants to run his own business and create his own products, rather than being MD of a company, and Robyn begins to see the flaws in some of her own arguments, and to realise also how very privileged she is to be in academia – in fact how very privileged are the academics with, at that time, their security of tenure in the universities. There are some nods to Postmodernism and Modernism and literary criticism. I found that interesting, since I studied the former two briefly as a module in my degree course about ten years ago. I have to admit, though, to having failed to comprehend some of these references totally, though I don’t think that mattered too much. There were interesting parallels to be drawn with today’s student protests, and Robyn’s dream of the university being opened up to everyone reminded me of a scene in A Very Peculiar Practice – a TV drama probably from same era. When I completed my modular degree, at the Department of Continuing Education in a local university, I felt that it had achieved that dream, but I suspect this is not the case, any longer. I did feel it was a clever and enjoyable novel, with lots of ideas contained in it, that made you think carefully about these conflicts, and lots of humour too. Just at the end, I thought the prose deteriorated a little, almost as if the author was impatient to be finished now that he had exhausted the ideas, and was eager to wrap up the story, which he did by some very tidy tying up of loose ends. Perhaps a fraction too tidy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Reading this book reminded me of studying French Literature in college in the mid 1980s. The literary theory reminds me of those courses -- particularly deconstructing modern poetry and reading 19th century French novels. The descriptions of the manufacturing plant and Vic's behavior remind me of my chemical engineering classes -- I remember researching something for a project in mining journals and finding every volume full of advertisements for machinery featuring large rocks with scantily cla Reading this book reminded me of studying French Literature in college in the mid 1980s. The literary theory reminds me of those courses -- particularly deconstructing modern poetry and reading 19th century French novels. The descriptions of the manufacturing plant and Vic's behavior remind me of my chemical engineering classes -- I remember researching something for a project in mining journals and finding every volume full of advertisements for machinery featuring large rocks with scantily clad women leaning against them. Now, since these were technical journals with peer reviewed articles, the young women wore shorts and plaid tops tied to show off bare midriffs rather than underwear but they would have fit in well at the trade show in Frankfurt in the book. I can see how these aspects of the book could seem dated. However the relationship that develops between two very different people and changes them both is a timeless theme and is well done here. Although both Robyn and Vic change, the change is gradual, not sudden or out of character. Each also remains true to themselves in the end as well which made the book more realistic to me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vanya

    I started to read this book rather accidentally. I found it in one of my university departments and having read the back cover, I didn't expect much from the book, but I gave it a try. And it was absolutely worth it. The story revolves around two completely different people, who at first don't enjoy each other's company, but as the story unfolds they get along quite well and realize that they have much to learn from each other. There is not much action in this novel. Lodge concentrates on descri I started to read this book rather accidentally. I found it in one of my university departments and having read the back cover, I didn't expect much from the book, but I gave it a try. And it was absolutely worth it. The story revolves around two completely different people, who at first don't enjoy each other's company, but as the story unfolds they get along quite well and realize that they have much to learn from each other. There is not much action in this novel. Lodge concentrates on describing these two protagonists and later their relationship. I really enjoyed this thorough description. I haven't read many books like Nice Work so it turned out to be quite amusing. Another thing I want to mention is the British style of narrating and the outstanding humor. For me as a non-English speaker, it was an opportunity to plunge in the British atmosphere.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Pappas

    My favorite of the "campus trilogy." Vic and Robyn, quasi-stereotypical as they are, are alive in their conflicting ideologies and clashing differences, and this novel, vaguely modeled after English social novels of the 19th century, poses some interesting, if simplistic, questions about the relationship between academia and industry. G.B. Shaw does something similar better in Heartbreak House, but no mind - this is the most fully realized of Lodge's Campus novels in that it doesn't rest fully i My favorite of the "campus trilogy." Vic and Robyn, quasi-stereotypical as they are, are alive in their conflicting ideologies and clashing differences, and this novel, vaguely modeled after English social novels of the 19th century, poses some interesting, if simplistic, questions about the relationship between academia and industry. G.B. Shaw does something similar better in Heartbreak House, but no mind - this is the most fully realized of Lodge's Campus novels in that it doesn't rest fully in the mode of satire, but pushes characters through their conflicts more realistically. Very enjoyable.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Very loosely based on E.M. Forster's Howards End, Nice Work follows Vic Wilcox, a head honcho in a British factory, and Robyn Penrose, a feminist PhD trying to secure a job at a university. Lodge does a really nice job of developing the characters and allowing them to change as a result of their interactions. He also manages to bring the novel to a satisfying and believable conclusion after leaving me wondering for most of the book where the story would end up. Overall, a book worth reading. Very loosely based on E.M. Forster's Howards End, Nice Work follows Vic Wilcox, a head honcho in a British factory, and Robyn Penrose, a feminist PhD trying to secure a job at a university. Lodge does a really nice job of developing the characters and allowing them to change as a result of their interactions. He also manages to bring the novel to a satisfying and believable conclusion after leaving me wondering for most of the book where the story would end up. Overall, a book worth reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Little Butterfly

    3,5 stars A witty and humorous book with credible characters. I liked the thoughts on the value of work and the idea of the shadow scheme. Impressive points on the stockmarket, swaps and the like. The negative side of the book was that after a good start it took too long to get into gear. It's a solid book that demands patience. 3,5 stars A witty and humorous book with credible characters. I liked the thoughts on the value of work and the idea of the shadow scheme. Impressive points on the stockmarket, swaps and the like. The negative side of the book was that after a good start it took too long to get into gear. It's a solid book that demands patience.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    I found this novel to be less academic in its overall thrust than "Changing Places", though the place of academia and academics in society played a large part of the story. The sexual humor of both books struck me as more towards the 'Benny Hill' end of the spectrum than my tastes lie - I think that is one major reason that these are 3 star books for me rather than 4. I really enjoyed this look at 1980s English universities under the budget cuts of Margaret Thatcher & the parallel look at the co I found this novel to be less academic in its overall thrust than "Changing Places", though the place of academia and academics in society played a large part of the story. The sexual humor of both books struck me as more towards the 'Benny Hill' end of the spectrum than my tastes lie - I think that is one major reason that these are 3 star books for me rather than 4. I really enjoyed this look at 1980s English universities under the budget cuts of Margaret Thatcher & the parallel look at the conditions of heavy industry in Rummidge (Lodge's fictional city, I guess based on Manchester?). Having come from a similar academic background as Robyn, I could appreciate some of her ideas (though not the semiotics!) and her culture shock when dealing with the outside world - the factory, her brother's work in the City - but overall, Lodge's characters don't come across to me as being real people but rather as props for him to get his point across.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    It's been many years since i read it, but I remember it being a fun read. It's been many years since i read it, but I remember it being a fun read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    freddie ✨

    hm. nah.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lorenzo Berardi

    "I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed". - Robert Louis Stevenson - My Shadow. "O'er grassy dale, and lowland scene Come see, come hear, the English Scheme. The lower-class, want brass, bad chests, scrounge fags. The clever ones tend to emigrate" - The Fall - English Scheme. "Shadowing: that which follows or attends a person or "I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed". - Robert Louis Stevenson - My Shadow. "O'er grassy dale, and lowland scene Come see, come hear, the English Scheme. The lower-class, want brass, bad chests, scrounge fags. The clever ones tend to emigrate" - The Fall - English Scheme. "Shadowing: that which follows or attends a person or thing like a shadow; an inseparable companion; hence, an obsequious follower. - Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913. Thanks to the brilliant verses of Mr Stevenson and Mr Smith and to the didactical contextualizazion given by a preeminent dictionary, I can start my own little dissertation on "Nice Work". Preamble: In the very first day of my current English job I was given a training paper scheduling my daily activities. Between 3 and 4 pm I had "shadowing". Being pretty much unaware of the essential jargon and subtleties of the British labour market I posed my first question: "What am I supposed to do?" The same concept of "shadowing" was reminiscent of "shadow government" to me. I was told that I did not have to play the opposition Prime Minister for a single hour, but to shadow one of my more experienced colleagues in his daily activities, watching him in order to get the basics of my future tasks. It was fine. I knew something new. The two main characters of "Nice Work" perform a "Shadow Scheme". Despite of being the shadow of each other Robyn Penrose and Vic Wilcox do not have that much in common. Well, actually they do not have anything in common. Sure, they live in the same industrial town of Rummidge and drive to and from their jobplace any given day. But these jobplaces couldn't be more different than they are. Robyn parks her little crappy Renault under a lemon tree in the campus of Rummidge University. Vic leaves his rumbling patriotic Jaguar in a parking lot facing a foundry. From that moment on, Robyn is wrapped up in tutorials and lectures involving feminist studies and industrial novels (think about Dickens). Vic ventures himself in meetings and discussions revolving around the rationalization of Pringle's (no crisps, but cylinder heads). While Robyn lives alone and has a kind of open relationship with a former Cambridge colleague, Vic is unhappily married with a plain woman and has a family and a house with four loos to take care of. And so on. Robyn and Vic join two different clubs. Two clubs whose members pretend to ignore the existence of anything else out of their own secluded world. Two clubs named University and Industry. We are in the 1980s. Lady Thatcher rules. Both clubs have to cope with lack of money due to the national recession. Whereas Robyn is trying to save her chair, Vic is the one who decides what and who will be cut off. Then comes the Shadow Scheme. Robyn and Vic collide. "Nice Work" is the exhilarating and convincing account of the aftermath of this clash.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo Sousa

    Nice Work concludes Lodge’s campus trilogy and whilst it is somewhat slow to pick up the pace, and not the best of the three volumes (the gold medal goes to Small World), it has the merit of transporting us once again back to Rummidge, a place where many readers - myself included - are very, very happy!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I read this because I really liked Small World and because I found it in the office collection of a Shakespearean scholar at my university who retired and then passed away. The administration staff invited us to take all of the books we fancied. He underlined things in this book and noted its realism. I love this. Though written in 1988 (the year I graduated from high school) it feels historical (that doesn't seem that long ago) because of the specifics he gives about the effects of Thatcherism I read this because I really liked Small World and because I found it in the office collection of a Shakespearean scholar at my university who retired and then passed away. The administration staff invited us to take all of the books we fancied. He underlined things in this book and noted its realism. I love this. Though written in 1988 (the year I graduated from high school) it feels historical (that doesn't seem that long ago) because of the specifics he gives about the effects of Thatcherism on universities and industry and the early heady days of deconstruction. This is the best part of the book for me. The literary allusions and explication of devices were cool, too. I actually might quote him in future lessons I teach on metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and aporia. What I found most profound is the question of how university education can become more relevant for more students (getting students from more diverse backgrounds to succeed in college) and to attack social problems with more vigor (relevant and creative responses to the challenges of late capitalism). Has this become even more difficult today than in 1988? Lodge charts this hope in his character Professor Robyn Penrose in her decision to stay on in Rummidge, England (think Birmingham) rather than try a new life in the colonies (Euphoric State University in America - UC Irvine perhaps? hiring all the deconstructionists?) This is the part you should not read if you were going to read this book. What I realized the day after reading this novel is that the love story between the professor and Vic Wilcox -managing director of Pringle's inc - they make machines - follows the plot of Mrs. Gaskell's North and South in the love story between Margaret and Thornton, especially the way Robyn describes it on pp. 49-50 down to the repeated reference to a 'knobstick' in the one sex scene between them which represents their "marriage" on p. 209 and both Robyn and Margaret giving their inheritances to the industrial guys to rebuild their lives when Thornton goes bankrupt and Wilcox gets laid off. I am grateful to Lodge that at least they didn't get married and Robyn really appears not to need a man (because she is a goddess). One complaint - though I know he was trying to evoke a goddess (may already be a problem) in a painting scolding a voyeur, I wonder if he had to sexualize Robyn so much in such high flown descriptions of her nude body. Though Lodge respects feminists to a certain extent, he isn't one and neither are any of the men in the book. I don't think I am his intended reader.

  27. 5 out of 5

    John Lucy

    This is the third book of Lodge's Campus Trilogy. As I've said in my review of the second book, "Small World," the label of "trilogy" is more or less a misnomer. The three books do contain Morris Zapp and Philip Swallow in each and do reflect a passing of time during which those characters' stories have progressed, but other than that the three novels have little to do with one another. "Nice Work" focuses on the young career of Robyn, a Rummidge literature professor, and Vic Wilcox, a managing This is the third book of Lodge's Campus Trilogy. As I've said in my review of the second book, "Small World," the label of "trilogy" is more or less a misnomer. The three books do contain Morris Zapp and Philip Swallow in each and do reflect a passing of time during which those characters' stories have progressed, but other than that the three novels have little to do with one another. "Nice Work" focuses on the young career of Robyn, a Rummidge literature professor, and Vic Wilcox, a managing director of a factory in Rummidge. Robyn is assigned as Vic's shadow as part of Industry Year, and a comical romance ensues. What makes this book so brilliant is that the "romance" between Robyn and Vic is not merely one of lust and love. Neither character particularly approves of the occupation or ideology of the other at the start of the novel yet come to learn the necessity of the Other by the end; Vic acknowledges the upbuilding available through philosophical and critical thought, Robyn realizes that her knowledge of the 19th century industrial novel does her little good in judging the necessity of factory work in her own day. Robyn especially must learn how to reconcile her demands that no one work in awful conditions and have time for leisure, without getting anyone fired. Though Lodge himself comes from the literary professorial world, he brings some serious commentary on the need for intellectuals to level with hard realities to a light-hearted novel. Too often those who are in position to determine the thoughts and habits of the general population--politicians, professors, consultants, writers--do not know the hard truths that the general population must deal with daily. Robyn and Vic are example characters, comically interwoven, showing our sad state of affairs. The story itself is quite good, better even than the first novel of the trilogy. If you only care for a good, funny story, then you will certainly like this book. I recommend it on other grounds, of course, but you can ignore the great injunctions of literary theory into the real world of Rummidge factories (Rummidge is not a real place, but it certainly could be) and just enjoy if you want.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Saski

    I think of the three books in this loosely connected trilogy (Changing Places, Small World, and Nice Work), I enjoyed this one the most, I think because it concerned itself with more than the academic world (with which I have had too much connection), and showing some interesting contrasts between it and the business world (about which I have almost no connection at all). Strangely though, I have marked no passages that particularly caught my eye, although I do remember very much enjoying the va I think of the three books in this loosely connected trilogy (Changing Places, Small World, and Nice Work), I enjoyed this one the most, I think because it concerned itself with more than the academic world (with which I have had too much connection), and showing some interesting contrasts between it and the business world (about which I have almost no connection at all). Strangely though, I have marked no passages that particularly caught my eye, although I do remember very much enjoying the various discussion on semantics (finally a purpose for all that studying of signs and symbols) and in other contexts, labor (or should I say 'labour') /economics (which by virtue of one character having to break things way down for the other, I learned something). The connection with the other two books in terms of characters was even looser and I think I preferred the new main characters much better, though sadly the rest seemed somewhat flat. Spoiler alert! I was not convinced by the ending. Ok, Robyn might not have cared for the amount of competition it sounded like she was going to have to do in the US for the same job she had in the UK and I guess, conveniently (too conveniently, if you ask me) suddenly having money arrive out of the blue, thus allowing her to have her cake and eat it too made it easy to stay, but she seemed more of a striver than that. In the end everyone is happy with their new lot in life. How nice. All in all, I wish I had enjoyed these three books as much as I thought I would. Glad for the laughs I did have with them, though.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizzy B

    If you like literary theory and you have the open-mind to understand there's a world outside of the college, you will like this book. I really like this retold or homage to Industrial Novel, and particulary to North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. But don't be confused, this not a love story, as it is well said at the beginning. And that's a pity :( Robyn and Vic are two different worlds. She is a left feminist working for the University and he's an Engineer who works as general manager at a big If you like literary theory and you have the open-mind to understand there's a world outside of the college, you will like this book. I really like this retold or homage to Industrial Novel, and particulary to North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. But don't be confused, this not a love story, as it is well said at the beginning. And that's a pity :( Robyn and Vic are two different worlds. She is a left feminist working for the University and he's an Engineer who works as general manager at a big Manufacturing Company. They are forced to meet each other and their ideas will go from one to another. You can see clear echoes of North and South, in a novel set in the British 80s. I liked the ideas about literature and economy. They were very well done. Finally, you can say ...Love Is a Bourgeois Construct...but you know about meanings and truth, there is nothing totally true...so...just think yourself about it. Spoilers ahead. I really liked the main characters, specially Vic, because he's the one who changes his point of view more, even if Robyn is also changed. It was nice, but bittersweet. Well, I really liked everything till they came back from Frankfurt. I guess, I had been warned, but I expected something more conventional, maybe the love story...although the ending is conventional too. Maybe I felt it was rushed and sad. But if you have read David Lodge before, it was something you could totally expect.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter Lech

    Having read now entire the Campus Trilogy I found this last installment to be the most compelling in terms of characterization and themes. At times I felt like I was reading the script for a British television mini-series: there is something sentimental, melodramatic, predictable about the way the two main characters' relationship is portrayed. Nevertheless, a novel worth reading, for its apercus on academic life, forward-driving plot, and fascinating depiction of the clash between two worlds: a Having read now entire the Campus Trilogy I found this last installment to be the most compelling in terms of characterization and themes. At times I felt like I was reading the script for a British television mini-series: there is something sentimental, melodramatic, predictable about the way the two main characters' relationship is portrayed. Nevertheless, a novel worth reading, for its apercus on academic life, forward-driving plot, and fascinating depiction of the clash between two worlds: academia and blue-collar Britain. The middle volume -- Small World -- was recommended to me by a fellow academic, who told me about the game "Humiliation" at the dinner table. I found it the most exasperating of the three: a simplistic plot device repeated much too often dragged the novel out, I thought, without adding much else besides a heightened suspense. Even if the author was parodying the genre of Romance, was it necessary to also try the reader's patience while doing so? The first volume, like the last, was strongest in its characterizations and sharp observations on academic life, but it seemed to rely too much on gimmicks which don't add much besides novelty, maybe: one chapter tells the story through letters, the last chapter is written as a movie script.

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