My Education (Choi)

My Education 
Susan Choi, 2013
Viking Press
304 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780670024902

An intimately charged novel of desire and disaster...

Regina Gottlieb had been warned about Professor Nicholas Brodeur long before arriving as a graduate student at his prestigious university high on a pastoral hill.  He’s said to lie in the dark in his office while undergraduate women read couplets to him. He’s condemned on the walls of the women’s restroom, and enjoys films by Roman Polanski. But no one has warned Regina about his exceptional physical beauty—or his charismatic, volatile wife.

My Education is the story of Regina’s mistakes, which only begin in the bedroom, and end—if they do—fifteen years in the future and thousands of miles away. By turns erotic and completely catastrophic, Regina’s misadventures demonstrate what can happen when the chasm between desire and duty is too wide to bridge. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Where—South Bend, Indiana, USA
Education—B.A., Yale University; M.F.A.,
   Cornell University
Awards—PEN/W.G. Sebald Award; Asian American
   Literary Award
Currently—lives in New York City (Brooklyn)

Susan Choi is an American novelist. She was born in South Bend, Indiana to a Korean father and the American daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. When she was nine years old, her parents divorced. She and her mother moved to Houston, Texas. Choi earned a B.A. in Literature from Yale University (1990) and an M.F.A. from Cornell University. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

After receiving her graduate degree, she worked for The New Yorker as a fact checker.

Choi won the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction and was a finalist of the Discover Great New Writers Award at Barnes & Noble for her first novel, The Foreign Student. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her historical fiction novel, American Woman. In 2010, she won the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award.

With David Remnick, she edited an anthology of short fiction entitled Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. Choi's second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her third novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2009. My Education, her fourth, was published in 2013. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 7/10/2013.)

Book Reviews
A scorching hot read…a chaise-lounge literary page-turner par excellence:  sexy, smart, well-plotted, jammed with observations witty and profound, and so well-written it occasionally leaves you gasping.
New York Newsday

A tricky book to categorize.  On the one hand, it’s a campus novel…At the same time, this is just the background against which the larger story unfolds.  What Choi is after is the elusive territory of experience, the way people and events imprint us when we’re young and then linger, exerting a subtle pressure over how we live our lives.
Los Angeles Times

The academic novel married to the novel of obsession is almost too pleasurable to contemplate, but that’s what this book is…Choi’s an extremely confident writer, and in My Education she beautifully explores the way a young person tries, and often fails, to navigate her budding and intersecting sexual, intellectual, and emotional lives.  The writing in this novel is masterful – but the book did something to me emotionally, too.  I felt like I was in an obsessive relationship with it. I wanted to read it all the time.
Meg Wolitzer -

Choi gets top marks for slyly re-inventing the affaire de l’Académie in My Education.
Vanity Fair

A fascinating examination of sexual politics and the many disguises of desire.
Daily Beast

Explores a young heart and its painfully naïve and bold ways…It’s The Graduate meets The L Word meets the Carey Mulligan flick An Education.
Marie Claire

The throes of an obsessive relationship allow a young graduate student to avoid growing up for a little while in Choi’s dark and stormy fourth novel.... Regina Gottlieb, anxious about being a new student in a prestigious graduate English program...embark[s] on a torrid, all-consuming affair.... Even as Regina loses her way, though, the narrative never lacks direction. Choi keeps the moments between her characters believable while building momentum toward the illicit lovers’ inevitable falling-out.
Publishers Weekly

Promising graduate student Regina Gottlieb finds herself attracted to her libertine professor, Nicholas Brodeur. However...instead [she] becomes physically entangled with Nicholas's wife, Martha.... Verdict: As with her previous novels, Choi's talent resides in her densely layered prose and her slowing down the pace to draw readers into the inner worlds of her characters. The result is a deeply human tale of intentional mistakes, love and lust, and the search for a clearer vision of one's self. —Joshua Finnell, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH
Library Journal

The sexual initiation of a graduate student, who learns how much she does not know, in a novel that somehow feels both overstuffed (style) and undernourished (substance). From the reference in the first sentence to "a highly conspicuous man,"....Choi makes it obvious to the reader that the novel's rites of passage won't be confining this education to the classroom.... [Regina's] education leaves her by the end knowing even less than when she had started. There seems to be a happy ending here, though it's hard to be certain for whom.
Kirkus Reviews

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