This hilarious, sometimes harrowing, and ultimately heartening novel is the companion to the critically acclaimed, national bestseller Perfect Agreement
"Beautifully and economically written, and very funny." —Linda Wertheimer, NPR
This is your chance to enroll in English 10 at highly rated Hellman College—if you can find a place to sit in the fantastically overcrowded classroom.
Mark Sternum, whom readers first met in Downing’s beloved novel Perfect Agreement, is a veteran teacher. Twenty years older, separated for six months from his longtime lover, and desperate to duck the overtures of double-dealing deans above him and disgruntled adjunct faculty below him, Mark has one ambition every day he is on campus—to close the classroom door and leave the world behind. His escape, however, is complicated by his contentious, complicated wrestling match of a relationship with the Professor, the tenured faculty member with whom Mark has co-taught this creative-writing workshop for ten years.
The spectacle of their rigorous, academic relationship is a chance for students—all of us—to learn what an amazing arena the classroom can be. Replete with engaging writing exercises, harsh criticism, and contrarian advice, Still in Love is the story of one semester in a college classroom. And it is an urgent reminder that we desperately need classrooms, that those singular, sealed-off-from-the-world sanctuaries are where we learn to love our lives.
Downing's witty follow-up to Perfect Agreement satisfyingly transports readers to college as teacher Mark Sternum begins winter term at Hellman College in New England. Mark's highly acclaimed creative writing class is filled with 12 students, yet hopefuls line the classroom to listen to the writer's workshop. Mark jointly teaches with the Professor, a distant man whom the students fear as much as they feel at ease with Sternum. This term is challenging for Mark as he tries to fill the void left by Paul, his partner of 30 years who is currently overseas, by staying at Paul's condo more than in his own house. The students, meanwhile, dissect each other's work and try to sort out their lives. Mark takes an interest in Anton, a student whom he learns is battling cancer. In addition to focusing on his own writing, Mark stresses over an important departmental report, and even though he's tenured, he likes to please and allows union meetings to be held in his office. In depicting Mark's ordinary semester, Downing poignantly illustrates the dynamics of the college classroom as well as its potential for lasting lessons, making for a resonant campus novel.