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Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Dr. Edith Vane is nicely ensconced at the University of Inivea and is about to see her dissertation on Beulah Crump-Withers published. All should be well. Except for her broken washing machine, her backstabbing fellow professors, a cutthroat new dean and the fact that the sentient and malevolent Crawley Hall has decided it wants them all out."
Published April 17th 2017 by Coach House Books
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3.61  · 
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 ·  158 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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this is an absolutely fantastic academic novel set somewhere in coldland, canada. it's not really magical, not in any tangible sense of magic (i'm saying this because the synopsis can be misleading on this point). what it is, it's funny, it's on the money, and it's brutal. if you are in academia you will want to quit, and if you are on your way there you will want to change career. if you are not in academia, believe every word. this is why we are all so fucking stressed out.

well okay the peopl
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, can-con
A crater blossomed in the night right beside the building. Which is what prevented her from parking in her regular space. Part of the parking lot, the traffic circle, the walkway in front of the door on this backside of the building, have collapsed into a giant hole. Part of the concrete foundation of Crawley Hall exposed. Its root. She flushed with embarrassment; seeing the raw foundation feels like accidentally seeing an ancient uncle's naked buttocks.

I was prompted to read Dr. Edith Vane an
Chanda Prescod-weinstein
Pretty much every academic -- especially women of color -- should read this book. It's brilliant and frightening. I might quit academia. It was VERY REAL. Just, very very terrifyingly real.
Barbara McEwen
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
Holy moly, the horrors in this book are almost a little too real, brought me right back to suffering through my Master's degree. She has nailed the funny, well maybe not so funny, aspects of University life, the constant construction, buildings falling apart, the 'climbers', the eccentrics, those struggling to survive. Panic attack in a book I tell ya. That and I will never look at Calgary's jackrabbit problem the same again, shudder.
This was such an enjoyable novel.
Between this and Emma Perez' book, I need to hunt down more lesbian prof books.
Andrea MacPherson
I'm still pondering the ending, but I loved this novel. Anyone who has worked in academia will see themselves in this story.
Clara L.
I'm still not sure what to think about this book after finishing it...I like the discussion about the novel at book club, and I like the concept of the story now that I'm thinking back on it. Even though the events in the story were unpleasant at some points, I still enjoyed reading it. It's funny at times, very weird and brutal. I can definitely relate to the book (I started this book just after finishing my final academic essay of my degree) but it gave me some weird feelings (sad/moody becaus ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I read this book in a day. I found it rivetting, chilling and anxiety producing, and I'd like my female academic friends to read it. It's the story of a woman working in a university. I think it covers some of the normal struggles that women in academia face, but there's a horror tinged aspect to the work, and it works really well as a horror novel. I was feeling creeped out for most of the day after I read it. It's also set in Alberta in a fictional university, and the main character is Black a ...more
I wanted to like this one more than I did, as I loved Monoceros. I found it somewhat overwritten and the characters too often veer toward caricature. Fascinating premise, but the novel never quite decides what it wants to be: horror? scathing critique of academia? an unreliable narrator descending into madness?
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So close to the truth that I had heart palpitations reading it. Clever and funny and oh so disturbing.
I finished in time for book club!!!
I'm not sure why the hares, unless it's because they are found on the prairie and there's something a little strange about them, but they certainly add to the out of sync feeling that is present right from the beginning of this book. I think the University of Inivea is in Calgary, judging by the view to the west of the campus, and there are those who would suggest that that puts it out in the desert of academe, but I would never think that.
Edith Vane always wanted to do something with books, mak
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know how to rate this because I have no idea how I feel about it. At first it seemed dull but the wierder it got the more it sucked me in. I finished the last twenty or so pages after my exam and I still have so many questions.
I think everyone in academia, or who knows someone in academia, should read this... funny, satirical, but also ON POINT.
Sam - Spines in a Line
You can find more of my reviews at They aren't all like this :)

I don't know... I felt like the suspense of the later chapters was better than the slow drawn-out narration of the first half of the book. I still didn't like the main character and had a REALLY hard time reading her as a middle-aged woman, since she seemed pretty whiny and unable to look after herself.

Everyone in this book is kind of awful, including the main character but in her own way. It was
Prairie Fire  Review of Books
From Review by Will Fawley.

Suzette Mayr is an accomplished poet and novelist, based in Calgary. Her most recent novel, Monoceros, was nominated for a Giller Prize and won both the W. O. Mitchell Book Prize and the ReLit Award for Best Novel. Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall is her fifth novel.

The story begins with an overwhelmed Edith Vane, professor at the fictional University of Inivea. After decades of study, her first book is about to be published, her dissertatio
Going in I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it would be a bit bizarre, as that seems to be Suzette Mayr’s style, but I wasn’t entirely prepared. I kept having to put the book aside as I was getting visibly anxious for Dr. Edith Vane. Everything just kept getting worse and worse for Edith.

Edith is full of fear and anxiety, usually not unwarranted, but some of the psychedelic elements were difficult to separate from the real. While I understand that’s kinda the point, it made for a confu
Bill Brydon
Oct 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, canadian, gothic
Disappointing considering past books

I have no idea who would find this take on academia interesting. The characters are clichéd and the writing is painful.
"I’ve never felt another woman’s breasts before. Can I? Does it bother you that you’re my experiment? There, I said it. – I don’t … , said Edith, squirming, her back suddenly very straight. – I have work to do, Beverly. This is literally my coffee break. – Me too, said Bev, whipping off her long apron, then hurrying back to kiss Edith, her h
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, lit, 2017
Could have done without the supernatural stuff but good god did reading this bring me back to all the worst parts of grad school: the protracted self-doubt and pathological inability to feel like any accomplishment was ever enough, the chronic social discomfort around people constantly jostling for status, and, perhaps most of all, the acute localized claustrophobia that increased with every step nearer to The Department. Too real!
So unsure about the author's intent: is this about academia and the infighting/tension over tenure and publication? is this about racial and socio-economic tensions in academia? is this about a woman in over her head and going mad? all three? more? When the book clicked it was wonderful, but there were also times I just shook my head and wondered where the editor was.
Morgan Coffey
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story - satirical, haunting - black, queer, Canadian!
I didn't even notice the lack of quotation marks which is often a deal-breaker for me.
Anxious to read more of Mayr's work.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: academics, people looking for a funny and surreal read
Shelves: 2017, netgalley
This book was hilarious and such a great send-up of the academic world! It felt a bit like a cross between Jane Smiley’s Moo and Alice in Wonderland.

Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall by Suzette Mayr was a really fun read. The novel takes us through an academic term at the University of Inivea (a fictional Alberta-based school). Edith is a university professor who is struggling in her career and believes that her fortunes are about to change. She finally has a new girlfriend, a friend
I initially gave this one star, but that seemed too mean. I really didn't like it, but it wasn't poorly written or a bad book. Obviously a lot of people thought it was wonderful. I'm not a great fan of most satire - it tends to have to exaggerate things to the point where it makes the subject under scrutiny ridiculous, but to me this also tends to make the work at hand ridiculous. I have spent some time in academia - it would be interesting to have my professor friends read this and see what the ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great and unexpected piece of surrealist borderline-horror. The book starts as a comedic parody of academia - the depiction of department dynamics, publish-or-perish, and bureaucracy are spot on - and slowly slides into stressful surrealism without losing the humor. The end result is highly engrossing and has a fantastic atmosphere. It is just the kind of book for curling up on a stormy afternoon or to read as the light fades in the evening. A warning: the last 50 pages become quick-paced and ...more
Enid Wray
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a little bit to get into this but once I did it ripped along. Gothic, academic, queer, black, satire, magical realism, mental health issues... Everything gets mixed up in the pot and it works.
While I don't want to suggest at all that my own academic career was anything like this, it does resonate as authentic... indeed, I left part way through my PhD as I had realised by that time that this ivory tower world or publish or perish and everything else it entailed - much hyper-illustrated
Lesley Taylor
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Be careful, Dr. Edith...don’t open that door! It’s past time for you to get out of the malevolent and disintegrating Crawley Hall. It’s time for you to extricate yourself from the baleful influence of the Dr. Lesley Hughes of the world. I was spellbound by the book. The psychological unravelling of Dr. Edith is paralleled by the crumbling of the building. The ending was a bit unexpected. Living in snowy Calgary, Alberta I find myself watching for Dr. Edith Vane as I make my way across campus ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-books
I really enjoyed this book - Suzette Mayr's writing is consistently fantastic. It has a lot of the world-bending magical realism elements I loved about Moon Honey. Although I did miss the texture of having multiple characters, like in Moon Honey and Monoceros, that seemed to bring those worlds to life a little more. The single perspective felt a bit limiting in that way, maybe because I'm comparing to other books. But I still enjoyed it a lot and I do absolutely love this character (and related ...more
kristin conrad
a female academic descends into madness. probably should have read this before deciding on grad school, or maybe it’s good that I didn’t.

other themes: mental health, #canlit, rabbits, Alice in Wonderland, lesbians (also the protagonist and author is a woman of colour.) amazing book, may be perfect.

I literally yelled “YES” out loud at the end.
Madeline B
Nov 29, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the most unsastifying book I've ever read.
I didn't get the point of the entire thing.
Basically no plot and the whole thing is just bad thing after bad thing. Ending makes no sense. What even is this book about? What is the point? Why?
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wacky in the best way. Academic angst, foreboding hares, burgeoning romance & betrayals, and a definitely off-balance setting.
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Suzette Mayr teaches English at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Mayr has spent her life in Calgary and Edmonton, where she completed her MA in English at the University of Alberta. She released her first chapbook, Zebra Talk, in 1991. Her first novel, Moon Honey, was published to critical acclaim in 1995. Her latest novel, The Widows, takes the reader on a journey with three women defying t ...more