Nikki's Reviews > Changing Places

Changing Places by David Lodge
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Apr 14, 09

bookshelves: fiction, humor, guardian-1000-novels
Read in April, 2009

I enjoyed this book, although I'm not at all sure why anyone would think it was a "must-read" item. Two English professors, one American and one British, exchange jobs for 6 months with interesting consequences for their work and family lives -- and the ending does not resolve those consequences. The American university in the book is a thinly-disguised (very thinly -- the view is of the "Silver Span" bridge) version of Berkeley. Did I mention this takes place in 1969? There's a lot of humourous commentary on student protests, the sexual revolution, women's liberation, etc. I don't know if this would even be that funny to someone who didn't live through those days. I also had a hard time believing that the life of the average Brit was as mingy as it was portrayed here -- I almost felt the author would start talking about ration cards any minute. By the way, the British university is likely a disguised version of the U. of Birmingham, where the author taught for many years. The Guardian's critics seem to find academia a ripe field for humour, as this is far from the only academic novel included in their Comedy section. Anyway, Changing Places will while away a few happy hours, but you can also have a happy life if you never read it.
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