Interim by Matthew Roberson
What if, one shining summer day, a friend-in-need asks you to take a job you don’t want, aren’t qualified for, and will just plain hate? If you’re Rob Roy, Professor of English at STATE University, and your sweet son—gone sullen under his headphones—is about to incur some hefty college costs, you say fine, dammit, and become Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities, Interim.
It turns out Rob can do some good, if he can head off the nefarious plans of unctuous archrival, Professor Steve Klütz, who’s got something cooking with STATE’s online education. Along the way, though, he’ll need to steer clear of the scheming Dean Eileen, master manipulator in charge of the College of Ed; land on the good side of Dean Trout, College of Science and Engineering, who spares no soul his acid tongue; and stay sane in the face of every other wonky academic wandering the campus—all while he and his wife worry about their daughter, who junior high gossipers say was born with a tail. At least, for comfort, there’s Andres the aging corgi, steadfast sidekick.
The latest in a long tradition of fast-moving, funny, and trenchant campus novels, Interim rakes just the right amount of muck about the absurdities of academic administration, where budget lines and backstabbing and ladder climbing rule the day.
Praise for Interim
Sharp, mischievous, funny as hell, and grimly, glumly illuminating, Matt Roberson’s Interim has a perfect-pitch ear for campus-speak and campus-think, academentia’s everlasting officious meetings, deft vagueness, calculated double-talk, buffoonery, pettiness, and vast Rube Goldbergian tangle of bureaucracies, manipulations, and power grabs. To say it will send shivers of recognition up the spines of the initiated (and cause the uninitiated to slow down and gape as if passing the scene of a forty-seven car pileup) is maximum understatement.
--Lance Olsen, author of Skin Elegies
Roberson is a master post-postmodern satirist. Interim is both a send up of neoliberal managerial emptiness and a moving lament to the erosion of leadership in academe. The absurdi- ties of university administration today depicted here will leave you crying from laughter — and fear. A must read for anyone considering a trek to the dark side of higher ed.
--Jeffrey R. Di Leo, author of Catastrophe and Higher Education
Matt Roberson’s diamond-cut realism brilliantly depicts the many facets of late capitalist absurdity. Or else his absurdism gives us a good-humoredly harrowing glimpse of the Real. Interim is academic satire at its finest, pointed, warm-hearted, hilarious, and self- aware, an interpolated treatise on the perils of interpolation and on our crumbling institutions: the University, which “[oozes] administrators like bedbugs”; the nuclear family, the shopping mall. Skip the meeting and the email, and read this book.
--Joanna Ruocco, author of The Week
Copyright: Matthew Roberson (Standard Copyright License)
Publisher: Red Flag Press
Published: March 2022
Binding: Perfect Bound
Interior Ink: Black & white text
Dimensions (inches): 8.5x5.5