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book cover of 

Perfect Agreement

Perfect Agreement

(1997)
A novel by

 
Mark Sternum, a professor who teaches spelling and grammar at Boston's McClintock College, is full of droll observations about the rules that govern our language, but he leads a diligent if somewhat detached life. Friends and family try to coax him into deeper involvement, yet he keeps even his lover at arm's length. He screens all incoming calls, including his eccentric sister's "word pictures" about the waning days of their comatose mother.

One day, an African-American single mother who has failed the college's basic skills test for the last time accuses Mark of "prejudgism," and Mark is fired. Blown off course, he monitors the ensuing academic skirmish from a distance as his case makes national headlines, and turns his attention instead to the graceful rhythms of a small Shaker community. As the scrambled pieces of Mark's life and the simple ways of the Shakers begin to merge, Mark finds new beauty in his own maddening, blissful dependency on the people in his life.

Funny and generous, Downing's seemingly effortless prose juxtaposes cunning portraits of academic functionaries weathering the age of political correctness with the people and values of the last Shaker families in America.

 
Used availability for Michael Downing's Perfect Agreement


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

September 1997 : USA Hardback
Title: Perfect Agreement
Author(s): Michael Downing
ISBN: 1-887178-45-7 / 978-1-887178-45-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Counterpoint
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

November 2009 : USA Paperback
Title: Perfect Agreement
Author(s): Michael Downing
ISBN: 1-58243-538-3 / 978-1-58243-538-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Counterpoint
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 1998 : USA Paperback
Title: Perfect Agreement
Author(s): Michael Downing
ISBN: 0-425-16628-7 / 978-0-425-16628-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Berkley
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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