Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses, by David Lodge (1975)

Two English professors, one American and one British, join their universities’ annual exchange program to escape disconcerting ruts in their respective countries.  Lodge’s west-coast America is torn amidst the uproar of 1960s counterculture, while his small-town industrial Britain is chilly, polite, and exaggeratedly tame.  By showing each world from the other country’s POV, Lodge creates a witty and poignant commentary on academic and social life on two continents.  The novel itself also takes different forms in each of its six sections (letters, a screenplay, etc.), a cool twist on the relationship between fiction and reality.

Rating

Where I Got It

Bought from a used bookstore in Columbus, Ohio this past summer.  I’d been meaning to read this book for literally ten years, after a former coworker recommended David Lodge to me in 2006.  WHY OH WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN TO HIM SOONER? I enjoyed this book too damned much to have gone without it for so long.

More

2015 Review in The Guardian

Rules for “Humiliation,” a reading game Lodge invented for the novel

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