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Higher Ed ❰PDF / Epub❯ ★ Higher Ed Author Tessa McWatt – ‘A wryly passionate slyly political and engrossing concatenation of London lives that only a Londoner by choice could have written’ China Miéville'Wonderful narration Wonderful map of the archipe ‘A wryly passionate slyly political and engrossing concatenation of London lives that only a Londoner by choice could have written’ China Miéville'Wonderful narration Wonderful map of the archipelago Embark and discover it' John BergerLondon Now And here come the new LondonersFrancine would prefer to be thinner but is happy enough to suffer her boss' manhandling of her ample hips if it helps her survive the next cull in uality Assurance She just wishes she could get the dead biker's crushed face out of her mind's eyeRobin is having a baby with the wrong woman wishes he were with the perfect Polish waitress instead leans hard on Deleuze for understanding and wonders if his work in film will continue to be valued by the university managementOlivia is angry — angry with her layabout mother with her too casual BFF and with her own timidity and anxiety Perhaps the wisest of her lecturers will help Knowledge is power right And she's beautiful when she's angryEd wishes he’d never gone back to Guyana to help his rass brother as it lost him his mini Marilyn wife and the possibility of watching his only child grow up — until someone surprising crops up at the crematoriumKatrin is starting not to miss Gdansk or Mamunia so much and starting to understand London living But if she works and hopes harder maybe she’ll secure a full British future for herself and her mother with the Good EnglishmanThe five of them cross paths and cross swords to bring London living unforgettably to life Real London lives.

About the Author: Tessa McWatt

Guyanese born Canadian writer Tessa McWatt is the author of six novels and two books for young people Her fiction has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award the City of Toronto Book Awards and the OCM Bocas Prize She is one of the winners of the Eccles British Library Award for her memoir Shame on Me An Anatomy of Race and Belonging She is also a librettist and works on inte.

10 thoughts on “Higher Ed

  1. Sophie Sophie says:

    35Posted in full When I travel to London I take the long coach there and spend most of my visits in a tube station waiting for the next stop Being in London feels much different to being at home and I spend a lot of my time people watching as busy Londoners head off in all different directions You don’t get a moment’s peace Reading Higher Ed was a bit like one of my trips to London I felt like a real people watcher as I watched the five main characters all busy getting on with their own different lives but also all linked in some small way all heading in different directions yet at the same time all heading for the very same thing Higher Ed was a fascinating novel really character driven and over the course of the book we easily get to know a fair bit about Francine Robin Olivia Ed and Katrin who are written with strong depth We also catch on to little glimpses of ties between the five characters Despite the beginning where I didn’t catch on to any links at all as they were all very individual characters with their own different battles there were links in there too I enjoyed getting to know them Higher Ed is the first book I have read by Tessa McWatt I really enjoyed it The first thing that struck me was the format of the chapters which are short and snappy sharply written and uick to read Why read one chapter when you could read two or three or I flew through this book and loved the short chapters I really don’t like long chapters and I read this book much uicker thanks to the style it was written in Before the story even begins the book lists the ‘cast’ and ‘supporting players’ I liked the idea of this it gave the book a film like feel but then I felt pretty overwhelmed reading the list of characters wondering how I’d keep up But that doesn’t ever become an issue when reading the book itself I kept up easily Each of the characters were well voiced realistically drawn and interesting to read about although some than others Francine and Katrin were the two I most cared about and I liked their parts the most Olivia’s story struck a chord too Even though I didn’t find all the characters entirely likeable they were still easy enough to read about but I was eager to get on to the chapters of those I did like Surprisingly I felt like the large number of main characters actually worked well I’m never good with keeping up with lots of characters but I did think they suited the style of Higher Ed well All the stories felt honest and believable Some were sad others were laced with humour but all made me think about how you don’t truly know what is happening in someone’s life as you judge from the outside As with people watching in London you make assumptions and guess what’s happening what they’re up to what’s bothering them but you don’t really know This novel really breaks down the characters and they come to life better that way The main aspects of this book worked well for me My problem was with the actual plot itself which I struggled to get to grips with I’m not really sure why All five main characters were reaching out for love and acceptance Something most readers including me could relate to My issue wasn’t anything to do with the characters I liked the brave themes the author explored like bulimia death pregnancy redundancy and immigration to name a few I think I struggled with the tone of this novel which was a bit too strict and serious There were funny moments for sure but at times I got dragged down in all the harsh themes It’s not really a criticism of Tessa’s writing – how can you criticise an author for writing a multi layered interesting novel? – but that this book wasn’t entirely for me So I do have mixed feelings over Higher Ed but I couldn’t actually fail to notice how compelling I found it and how uickly I finished it The beauty of this book is seeing the strands that link these characters come to life I began not sure strong ties would be possible but I ended up completely convinced Higher Ed was overall intelligently written gripping and very thought provoking review copy

  2. Anne Anne says:

    I love London I love the fact that it is along with New York the city that everyone in the world is familiar with the city that people flock to visit London is a city that never fails to amaze me no matter how many times I visit there is always something new to see and to do Along with the historical sights the amazing shops the street art the theatre and the fashion there are the people Millions of people all living together in what is really uite a small space Tessa McWatt has created a handful of people who all live in London but are all very differentHigher Ed is set in a London university and each character is a true individual although their lives are linked Some of the links are fleeting but others are stronger and attached The author is really skilled in creating characters each one of them is solid and credible with their own original voice and foiblesWhilst I enjoyed reading about all of these characters and their lives my favourite was Katrin She's highly educated yet can make a better life for herself working in a London coffee shop than she ever could back home in PolandThe characters in Higher Ed are all looking for the same thing They each deal with their issues in their own way but their aim in life is what connects them That and London of courseHigher Ed is almost like sitting on a bus or train or indeed in Katrin's coffee shop and people watching It's a uick read but a really fulfilling one Tessa McWatt's writing is colourful funny and vivid Her setting is perfect and her characters are wonderful

  3. Chris Waterford Chris Waterford says:

    A story about five characters whose thoughts seem to jump at random from one thing to another Metaphors seem clunky or inappropriate like a dog's breakfast Almost incomprehensible

  4. Canadian Reader Canadian Reader says:

    Set in East London this is a novel told from multiple points of view with all of the characters linked some closely than others to a lower tier university that is grappling with austerity measures Lonely Francine a middle aged clerk who works in uality Assurance is an American who followed an older boyfriend overseas and was dumped by him some time before the story opens She muddles through her job engages in repeated bulimic purges and regularly checks her internet dating profile for interested suitors Eually lonely Robin a retiring and somewhat anemic young professor of film theory who also risks losing his job grapples with becoming a father to an accidental child with a woman he doesn't love To complicate his life there is the beautiful Katrin a well educated Polish immigrant who can make far in the high end London cafe Epicure than she can back home in Gdansk Finally there is Olivia an idealistic young law student who is working on a dissertation about the lonely dead those who have died with no family to bury them Her research brings her into contact with Ed Wood a dignified Guyanese man whose social service job it is to bury these people and who may possibly be the father that abandoned her in early childhood Ed too is in danger of losing his job due to economic hard timesAuthor McWatt provides readers with short chapters which move from one character to another providing windows into each of their strugglesI appreciated the artistry of McWatt's work and her suggestion through the novel's structure that as isolated as the characters sometimes feel themselves to be they are all mysteriously connected Their personal stories find echoes in the stories of each other though the characters themselves are unaware of such resonances For example as Robin contemplates his unplanned fatherhood Ed recalls the reasons he abandoned the role of father Each of these men has a Catherine an elusive beauty and a complicated love By the book's end some of the characters Olivia and Francine most notably have small emotional victories in the form of new fragile connections; however the conclusion is on the whole rather unsatisfyingly open endedThe multiple points of view work to underscore McWatt's exploration of the fragile ties that connect her lonely urban cast However the many perspectives given also dilute the emotional force of the novel leaving the reader a little coldWhile I liked the book enough it is not necessarily one I would recommend or rereadThank you to Goodreads Giveaway Program for providing me with an ARC of this book

  5. Shan Shan says:

    Higher Ed by Tessa McWatt is a beautiful novel that follows five people who from the outside lead very different lives and are from very different backgrounds but on the inside are searching for the same things I enjoyed reading this book very much The chapters jump around between characters so that the story is told in the five voices At first this bothered me especially since chapters are short I found myself flipping to the character list at the front to remind myself of who they were But as the book went on I didn’t mind this much at all and I actually enjoyed that it went between the characters consistently If you like books that focus on the characters and their emotions rather than major plot devices then I think you will be interested in this book This is a book based on reality the uncertain times we live in and how through it all we are still searching for the same most basic things We can all see ourselves in these charactersYou can read my full review here

  6. Gill Gill says:

    I wasn't sure about this for uite a while and stuck with it because I was reading it for Book Club but by the end I found I had got involved with the characters and cared about themOn the other handHigher EdTessa McWattReviewed by Penistone Library Readers’ Group Generally not liked 11 members present and only 2 finished the book most gave up after about 40 pagesMost did not like the bad language at the beginning but agreed it died away uite uickly uestioning whether it was there for the “shock” factorOne of the 2 who finished it took 5 attempts to do that interspersed with reading other enjoyable booksThe list of characters was felt to be essential but most hated still having to refer to it so freuentlySome said the book felt like an exercise for students which had just been cobbled togetherMost felt the book was pointless and “went nowhere” several said they had to keep re reading parts to try to understand what was going onMost agreed the characters were well drawn even although we didn’t really like any of them tho’ Ed was generally the most liked character We have rarely been so united in our dislike of a book

  7. Wendy Jensen Wendy Jensen says:

    This book is about 5 people Francine Robin Olivia Ed and Katrin and each chapter is about one of them The setting is in London I found this not an easy style of writing to read After the first two chapters I almost uit but it got a bit better I had a hard time trying to understand the lingo and what it actually meantI received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads

  8. Anna Anna says:

    Five people living their lives in London each chapter told from a different characters point of view My reason for the two stars is that I couldn't find a connection with the characters As the story progressed it didn't make me care about any of them and I really like to read books that make me wonder about the characters long after I'd finished reading Higher Ed just wasn't for me

  9. Kbeckermann Kbeckermann says:

    I had a hard time keeping track of the stories and characters in this book I've read other books with different stories and characters woven throughout that were readable and connected to a theme

  10. Scribe Publications Scribe Publications says:

    Tessa McWatt brings the traditional campus novel bang up to date This polyphonic novel owes an obvious debt to Zadie Smith’s White Teeth but nevertheless McWatt manages to make this exuberant but bittersweet tale something all of her ownLucy Scholes The Observer A wryly passionate slyly political and engrossing concatenation of London lives that only a Londoner by choice could have writtenChina Miéville The search for love is at the heart of Tessa McWatt’s work as a writer and so it is in Higher Ed Her characters are by turns wise and foolish hopeful and sometimes — movingly — so very near defeat But they all continue to search In dark times they want to walk to the light We watch them and hope that they make itRonan Bennett The ecosystem of a London university is of a jumping off point than the focus of this freuently bleak take on the city and the scattered lives straining for purpose within its melée In a manner reminiscent of Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love a senseless accident brings the disparate lives of McWatt's characters together AuthenticCatherine Scott TLS Situated within a select group of metropolitan England today novels that range in outlook from despairing to hopeful Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English Gautam Malkani’s Londonstani Margaret Drabble’s The Radiant Way Zadie Smith’s NW and Jackie Kay’s Trumpet Higher Ed stands in the sensible middle As though motivated by EM Forster’s dictum to “only connect” the five key characters of McWatt’s magnetic novel are muddling through McWatt conjures a familiar world of uncertainties in which fallible but striving individuals find basic needs — security community bonds — difficult to attain Kind to her characters but never blind to their iffy choices or restrictive circumstances McWatt gradually grants the members of this loosely interrelated tribe some respite Her generous vision suggests that people might not get exactly what they desire but since the world’s a huge complicated place it may provide them with something else something ultimately beneficial Maclean’s Wonderful narration Wonderful map of the archipelago Embark and discover itJohn Berger A finely tuned sense of sadness and uiet despair haunts all of the characters in Tessa McWatt’s tenderly observed view of East London lifeAtom Egoyan Written in a captivating polyphonic style reminiscent of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and NW Tessa McWatt’s big hearted novel animates her five characters effortlessly uill uire I enjoyed Higher Ed hugely The writing was finely tuned and the characterisation sharply focused As vibrant as the city it depictsJonathan Kemp Author of London Triptych Tessa McWatt’s Higher Ed is a vibrant beating heart of a book Characters come together from vastly different backgrounds united by longing and displacement and bursting forth in McWatt’s vital witty raw prose A book that contains multitudes Higher Ed is less about how we are different than the ways in which we are the same Sly brainy and razor sharp McWatt's writing is unmissableGrace O’ConnellHigher Ed injects a welcome dose of diversity into a tale about universals love loneliness and the search for belonging It revels in the collision of two hitherto distinct genres the campus novel and the multivoiced immigrant saga set in London's gritty fringes McWatt pushes at the boundaries of what we've come to expect from stories about universities about London and the uncertain times in which we liveTrilby Kent Globe and Mail Sincerely affectingCarly Lewis National Post If you want a novel to get truly stuck into Tessa McWatt’s Higher Ed is an unflinching look at the impact of public spending cuts on a down and out London university Rather like a grittier version of John Lanchester’s Capital Higher Ed is a story about the challenges and uirks of urban living McWatt brilliantly and sympathetically contributes to the conversations being had all around contemporary London Runnings in Heels Set at a fictional east London university Higher Ed paints a picture of the city that is both realistically multicultural and from its academics to waitress characters realistically insecure Wry and funny evoking a world you’ll recognise Higher Ed should appeal to fans of Zadie Smith and Monica Ali Emerald Street Combines campus novel historically a distinctly white male genre with a Zadie Smith like sense of a thoroughly multicultural London satirises with sharp wit the precariousness of academic lifeCameron Woodhead The Age Five sympathetic characters blunder and blag their way through demanding periods of their lives Loneliness guilt and looming penury drive each of them into a uirky melee of sometimes weird but always enticing decision making and action taking Higher Ed resounds with the delightful clang of clumsy truthJoseph Crilly Irish Times McWatt’s tangled tale of five flawed frustrating people is so vividly written that you’ll miss hanging out with her characters well after you’ve finished the book Elle Canada The diversity of voices in the novel is impressive Each character’s story comes with its own richnessKerry Clare Pickle Me This

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