In the Garden of the North American Martyrs
Tobias Wolff’s masterful short story about one woman’s quietrevenge on the pomposity and arrogance of academia
Meticulous, funny, eccentric—Mary has always been mindful ofthe complex role she plays as a professor of history. Her lectures arecarefully written out beforehand; her departmental loyalties ambiguous. She isso careful, in fact, that she began to see herself as flat, dull, and lifeless.
The closing of Brandon College, the institution she’d spentmore than fifteen years at, changes everything. Forced to find anotherposition, Mary finds herself at an experimental college in rainy Oregon. Sicklyand unhappy, Mary feels as if she’s dying—until a letter from an old colleague holdspromises of a bright future. Louise works for a prestigious school in upstateNew York and wants to help her secure a position there. Excited, Mary fliesacross the country for an interview. But things aren’t as they seem, and Mary, disenchantedwith Louise’s vanity and the futility of the university, for once, throwscaution to the wind.
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