Read Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall by Suzette Mayr Online


Dr. Edith Vane, scholar of English literature, is contentedly ensconced at the University of Inivea. Her dissertation on pioneer housewife memoirist Beulah Crump-Withers is about to be published, and she's on track for tenure, if only she can fill out her AAO properly. She's a little anxious, but a new floral blouse and her therapist's repeated assurance that she is the arDr. Edith Vane, scholar of English literature, is contentedly ensconced at the University of Inivea. Her dissertation on pioneer housewife memoirist Beulah Crump-Withers is about to be published, and she's on track for tenure, if only she can fill out her AAO properly. She's a little anxious, but a new floral blouse and her therapist's repeated assurance that she is the architect of her own life should fix that. All should be well, really. Except for her broken washing machine, her fickle new girlfriend, her missing friend Coral, 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, and the hall and its hellish hares will stop at nothing to get rid of them.Like an unholy collision of Stoner, The Haunting of Hill House, Charlie Brown, and Alice in Wonderland, this audacious new novel by the Giller Prize–longlisted Suzette Mayr is a satire that takes the hallowed halls of the campus novel in fantastical—and unsettling—directions....

Title : Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781552453490
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall Reviews

  • jo
    2019-05-21 11:58

    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 people portrayed here, every last one, are pretty miserable -- students, administrators, and faculty alike -- and for the most part the people in academia are more decent than this, especially the students! suzette mayr has taken all that truly really sucks in academia and stuck it in this book. there's quite a bit of physical comedy, and, for some reason, a whole damn lot of bad smells, depicted hilariously. the eponymous protagonist, a caribbean canadian (i think; she is dark-skinned but are we told through which way-station her ancestors made their way to canada?) lesbian, is the mandatory loser, which is kinda of shocking, because academic novels don't pick on brown-skinned lesbians as the designated schlemiels. unless the author is one herself. race or sexuality are never made a big deal of. gender a bit more. mostly, though, what are targeted here are the massive administrative pettiness, the disregard universities have for the well-being of faculty, draconian anti-tenure, pro-productivity programs, ridiculous, newfangled practices adopted from the business world, and the lives academics lead that cause them to be sick and show up for class anyway because time off for sickness is not really part of your contract. some gentle fun is poked at the intense scrupulousness professors put into their work in spite of the massive lack of reward that generally comes with such scrupulousness -- we are all a bit too obsessed, a bit too ethical. and then there's the rat race, the back-stabbing, the bizarre colleagues, the desperation over prestige or lack thereof, and the love of books you once had that has been killed by mountains of papers and paperwork. i hope suzette mayr has tenure because her administrators might not quite like this book of hers. i loved it so much, i think it's simply the best academic novel ever written. and mayr is not a novice, so the style and the writing are really quite beautiful and perfect. i loved the end beyond words. enjoy y'all.

  • Krista
    2019-05-29 17:43

    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 and the Hares of Crawley Hall by the rear cover blurb that describes it as “an unholy collision of Stoner, The Haunting of Hill House, Charlie Brown, and Alice in Wonderland”; how intriguing is that? Now that I've finished it, I have to admit that it delivers both more and less than advertised – more weird than spooky, this book is a satirical look at academia, as seen through the eyes of a lovable loser. It's an easy and compelling read – you never anticipate what's coming next – and while the language doesn't exactly sing, it has a creepy and ironic atmosphere that fully engages the mind. Even so, that list of books that DEVatHoCH invokes on its rear cover are some true heavyweights of English Literature, and by comparison, this comes up light. Still a worthwhile read.As it begins, we meet Dr. Edith Vance; our lovable loser. While the book never divulges her age, we know that it took her eleven years to get her PhD in English Lit; that she now suffers hot flashes while still paying back her student loans. The kind of woman who doesn't even know how to properly dress herself, Edith decides to take the advice of her new phone therapist and make the upcoming school year her year – and why shouldn't it be? Edith has a sexy new girlfriend, has bought the same shoes with hourglass heels that the other women profs wear, and her first book – on Beulah Crump-Withers: “former sporting girl, then housewife, prairie poet, maven memoirist, and all-round African-Canadian literary genius” – is about to be published. And best of all, becoming published means that for the first time in her teaching career at (the fictional) University of Inivea, she will have enough points on her self-evaluation forms to satisfy the tough new Dean; a nightmare administrator who thinks that the primary duties of his professors are to publish in topflight journals and attract grant money. But when September rolls around, Edith's optimism is short-lived: Her new students, just like her old students, only take her course as a mandatory part of their pre-med or pre-law degrees (when all Edith ever wanted from her career was to share her love of books with other wide-eyed bibliophiles); her former doctoral advisor (who had eventually turned on Edith and attempted to scuttle her dissertation) has been brought into her department as a visiting Chair; and the Humanities building – Crawley Hall – seems to be falling apart: maggots drop from the ceiling tiles, elevators get stuck between floors, and yellow-eyed hares bound from dark corners.As a satirical look at academia, this book feels truthful – every funny-but-sad thing that happens (the cocktail receptions with donors, the backstabbing and credit-stealing, the business schools getting new branded buildings while the Humanities' literally crumbles apart) is funnier-but-sadder because it seems all too plausible. Edith's friend Coral – a feminist Sociology prof who drinks from a cup emblazoned with the words “Male Tears” – shares an office with three other profs; their varying office hours taped to the door in between photocopied cartoons about grammar and climate change. When Coral tries to start a protest about their “sick building”, Edith keeps her head low: she might have tenure, but the new Dean has the power to “refresh” her right out of a job. I liked all of the Canadiana that author Suzette Mayr layers into this book – name-dropping The Friendly Giant, people sit on chesterfields and drive on the Queen Elizabeth highway – and loved that Edith's book on (the fictional) Beulah Crump-Withers was called Taber Corn Follies (I have lived in Lethbridge and eaten my share of Taber corn). I don't know that the weirdness going on at Crawley Hall really went far enough (I guess I was looking for moreHaunting of Hill House), but this article on Mayr gives her the space to explain her process:I grew up in Calgary in the 1970s, and there weren’t very many other black people. I was a bi-racial person and that was even more confusing for people around me. Then I became queer. I have kind of a complicated subject position. How do you write about that when there’s no language for that? Going into the magic, going into the supernatural, pushing language and metaphor into the literal, and suddenly there is room to write that experience if I go beyond the bounds of reality. Because then I can explain it.Again, as enjoyable as I found this book, it's not a literary heavyweight. Taken on its own terms, there was much I liked and the four stars reflect its ranking against similar works.

  • Chanda Prescod-weinstein
    2019-05-29 11:40

    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.

  • l.
    2019-06-01 16:57

    This was such an enjoyable novel. Between this and Emma Perez' book, I need to hunt down more lesbian prof books.

  • Andrea MacPherson
    2019-06-03 10:46

    I'm still pondering the ending, but I loved this novel. Anyone who has worked in academia will see themselves in this story.

  • Alexis
    2019-06-06 17:33

    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 and queer.

  • Clare
    2019-05-27 12:55

    So close to the truth that I had heart palpitations reading it. Clever and funny and oh so disturbing.

  • Dee at EditorialEyes
    2019-05-26 12:45

    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?

  • Helen
    2019-05-21 12:53

    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, make people see how important they are, love them the way she does, and make their lives revolve around them just as she does. It was logical that she should take an Eng. Lit. degree and go into the world of academe. Doing a PhD degree involves time, a long time if you have to have a job at the same time, a lot of hard work, and quite a lot of money. All that Edith accepted but what she did not expect was to find the other inhabitants to be red of tooth and claw, ready to jump on any weakness. She finds herself in a department of a university where you are required to fill in a form every two years with all the things you have done to benefit the university and yourself: what grad students have you supervised to their degrees, what conferences have you addressed, what papers have you published in top journals, what books have you published with good publishers. She is not good at much of that and, in fact, should probably have done an MLS degree and become a librarian. It is too late now because she has too much invested in her career, but she should consider it because she will probably be Refreshed out of her position as things stand. I love the phrase "refresh" which is left a little vague and seems to be intended as an opportunity for staff to go away and think things over before re-applying for a position as Coral did (with the backing of a court decision). It is actually a way for the university to fire tenured professors.Crawley Hall itself appears to be attacking staff, but I have attended classes in buildings like that: windows that don't function as intended, air conditioning that makes more noise than freshened air, floors that are always gritty, venetian blinds that are always tilted, dirty and with permanent knots in their cords. Toilets that are out of order, garbage bins that are always full and smelling of old egg sandwiches and apple cores, and ceiling tiles that have been removed for some undetermineable reason are permanent features of places like this. It is no wonder that teachers are in stress states of unbelievable massiveness. When you add in the emphasis on the production of published material and the supervision of your upcoming competitors' academic debuts it is not surprising if people start having stress hallucinations.Not that Edith is doing much to reduce the stress. She is a procrastinator and puts off her marking tasks as well as everything else. Smoking pot is not helping her accurate assessment of her situation, nor is her drinking. She has written for journals apparently and someone even mentions it favourably, but she does not have contacts who can help push her book to publication or bolster her reputation. Her doctoral supervisor, Lesley Hughes, is one of those destructive people who deal with their own publication problems by seizing credit for their students' work. I have seen that happen and heard that the justification is in the supervision. "I was overseeing what you were doing so of course I have a share in it." The field of Can Lit is not huge so if you have a piece of territory not yet trampled by half the academics of the country you really do want to clutch it to you the way Edith does Beulah. As for Joffrey and his denigration of Stephen Leacock's "Sunshine Sketches" well, what does he know? Unfortunately, Edith is unable to make the case for some rather wonderful light hearted writing due to her fear of her students and personal insecurity. (Prof. Leacock was not light hearted himself. He was an economics professor who drank heavily, but my great uncle said he was a pretty good lecturer - not humorous, but good.) Too bad the course was Can Lit prior to 1950 because Leacock could otherwise have been compared to Robertson Davies' early writing.The end of the book is the fantasy result of all that has gone on in the book, the denigration of a senior professor, the theft of Edith's book, the refreshing of Coral and Prof. Froese (also a senior man), and Edith's disastrous love life which seems to have been one betrayal after another. I can't help but wonder what Lesley did in California to have herself so completely banned from any contact in that university and it would have been such a wonderful weapon if only Edith had not acquired it by unintended theft. It may all be delusion but one can at least be glad that Crawley Hall is collapsing into the sinkhole. [We at UBC felt that way about Buchanan Building and wondered why the old buildings such as Forestry & Geology didn't suffer that way.]It was a pretty good read in spite of confusing time jumps - and why *did* Edith obsess so much about time?

  • Kelsey
    2019-06-08 12:32

    I think everyone in academia, or who knows someone in academia, should read this... funny, satirical, but also ON POINT.

  • Bill Brydon
    2019-06-01 10:38

    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 hands cupping Edith’s face, Bev exclaiming that Edith’s cheeks are so soft! Bev exclaimed about every inch of Edith, the softness, the roundness, the smoothness, the bigness of the breasts. – I’m converted, exclaimed Bev. – I officially love women’s breasts!"

  • Biljana
    2019-05-23 13:45

    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 friendly therapist helping her sort out her life, and a major publication (a book) to add to her yearly review, which will save her from a career “refresh” at the hands of her new Dean. Of course, her term does not turn out as she had hoped. Edith felt a bit like a lovable loser. I hoped to cheer her on, but instead was forced to cringe repeatedly when things just didn’t work out as hoped. If you are someone who is interested in the academic world, then this book will reveal a humorous version of the worst of that world. If you are an academic, then you will recognize quite a lot of these characters (as I did). There are the back-stabbing colleagues, hapless colleagues, the Dean who wants to refresh the university, the disgruntled undergraduate and graduate students, and the post-doc trailing his supervisor. There is quite a lot more going on than the regular university, though—hares have overrun the campus, Edith’s office building is falling into a giant sinkhole, there is endless asbestos abatement and things falling from ceilings, and strange smells and sounds at Crawley Hall.“Everything good at the U of I?” asks a former colleague of Edith’s. No, says Edith. “It’s a horror show.” “So nothing’s changed then, he says.”

  • Monica
    2019-05-18 11:45

    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 confusing novel at times. I had trouble following the overall objective as it became clear things were probably not going to work out for Edith. But I genuinely felt bad for her and wanted to see if things would work out in at least a small way.Full review on my blog

  • Enid Wray
    2019-06-11 15:58

    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 here in this novel - was not where I wanted to spend my life.I'm more certain now than ever that it was the right call!!

  • Lesley Taylor
    2019-05-21 11:42

    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. A great read.

  • E
    2019-06-14 12:56

    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!

  • Madeline Biso
    2019-05-23 12:31

    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?

  • Adrian Hoad-Reddick
    2019-05-25 12:34

    I am looking forward to introducing this author and book at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival!

  • Dessa
    2019-05-16 12:53

    This novel is like Martin John meets The First Bad Man meets every horrible thought I've ever had about academia, which is to say it's terrifyingly unsettling and sharp.

  • Melanie
    2019-06-07 16:43

    Wacky in the best way. Academic angst, foreboding hares, burgeoning romance & betrayals, and a definitely off-balance setting.

  • L
    2019-05-16 14:48

    When I'm 9% into a book and still haven't met a living soul outside the protagonist's head, I'm done.

  • Morgan Coffey
    2019-05-25 11:49

    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.

  • Laura
    2019-05-17 15:42

    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.