Regina Gottlieb is an impressionable graduate student navigating her elite college in the fervid September heat. She is warned of the disarmingly handsome Professor Nicholas Brodeur, a lecturer with an illicit reputation, but finds herself captivated by him.
As she finally gains entry to his academic milieu she becomes entranced by the person closest to him, embarking on an affair which threatens to betray Nicholas and destroy life as they both know it.
My Education is a dark page turner charged with the pressure of campus life, giving a wry nod to the stereotypes of the campus novel. Choi masterfully evokes sexual obsession in literary style; weaving together a host of vivid characters in a complex coming of age story with a climactic twist.
Susan talks about her inspirations, parenthood and My Education
"I was inspired in a very specific way by a book that I love, Allan Hollinghurst’s novel The Line of Beauty. I haven’t been more enthralled, and admiring, of a novel in I don’t know how long. And something about the way that book opens, with Nick in a bookstore thinking about a much older, more powerful man that he knows, and being so full of youthful moxie and naïveté, brought an opening scene, fully realized, into my mind. That’s happened to me a couple of times, and it’s thrilling: you know there’s a novel, and that you’ve found the entrance, but you have no idea what it contains.
Parenthood has completely rewired me. Things that used to enthrall me now bore me, and things I never used to notice now obsess me, and that’s just one aspect of it. I think a lot, now, about children’s lives. Much of what happens to Regina in this book, to my mind, is that she realizes that children are people.
I always saw this novel first as a story about being young. It is a love story, but the love story is a vehicle for exploring the youthful innocence, and selfishness, and unsustainable craziness of being a young person in love, and of being a young person in general. I think this novel is my way of coming to terms with my not being particularly young anymore."
First chapter extract
"A raw, wild hurtling foray into the tangled realms of sexuality and self-knowledge" - Jennifer Egan
"A cogent, passionate, and surprising story ... populated with remarkable but utterly believable characters. Amazing" – Michael Cunningham
"Choi wields a dazzling dexterity with language, spicing the novel with gems of precisely-crafted phrasing and slivers of insight into the human psyche." - Associated Press
"Compulsively readable..." - The New York Observer
About the author
Susan Choi was born in South Bend, Indiana, and grew up there and in Houston, Texas. She studied literature at Yale and writing at Cornell, before working for several years as a fact-checker for The New Yorker.
Her first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. She has been a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award.
In 2010 she was named the inaugural recipient of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award. She now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their children, and teaches at Princeton University.
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Last updated: 6 months ago