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Dear Committee Members: A novel Audiobook, by Julie Schumacher Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Julie Schumacher Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Random House Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2014 ISBN: 9780553398670
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Finally a novel that puts the "pissed" back into "epistolary." Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can't catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work Accountant in a Bordello, based on Melville's Bartleby. In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. We recommend Dear Committee Members to you in the strongest possible terms. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Bitterly hilarious…If you are looking for a witty, original cri de coeur over the oft-lamented decline of the humanities, I urgently recommend this novel.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A smart-as-hell, fun-as-heck novel composed entirely of recommendation letters…Beyond the moribund state of academia, Schumacher touches on more universal themes about growing old and facing failure: not necessarily the dramatic failure of a batter striking out with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth, but the quieter failure that accrues over time, until we are finally forced to admit that we are not who we wanted to become.”


  • “Entertaining and…sharply written.”

    New Yorker

  • "[A] richly sardonic epistolary volume.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A hilarious academic novel that’ll send you laughing (albeit ruefully) back into the trenches of the classroom… Like the best works of farce, academic or otherwise, Dear Committee Members deftly mixes comedy with social criticism and righteous outrage. By the end, you may well find yourself laughing so hard it hurts.”


  • “Professor Jason Fitger, the hero of this engaging epistolary novel from Schumacher, is concerned about Darren Browles, a student of his currently at work on a novel…A creative writing professor herself, Schumacher crafts a suitably verbose but sympathetic voice for Fitger, a man who exudes both humor and heart.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A very funny epistolary novel composed of recommendation letters written by a caustic, frustrated, and cautiously hopeful English professor named Jason Fitger…Truth is stranger than fiction in this acid satire of the academic doldrums.”

    Kirkus Review

  • “Schumacher’s warm satire of the peculiarities of the Ivory Tower will be recognizable to anyone who has encountered the bureaucracy and internal politics of higher education.”


  • “Schumacher has written an academic comedy of manners in the grand tradition of Lucky Jim, Moo, and Straight Man. Robertson Dean narrates masterfully…Robertson Dean does a wonderful rendition of the aging English professor who is trapped literally in a building under construction and figuratively by his romantic and professional missteps over two decades. As he should, Dean leaves the listener guessing about Professor Fitger’s real feelings towards the denizens of Payne University as his life emerges through a torrent of LORs.”


  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2014
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

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About the Author

Julie Schumacher, a graduate of Oberlin College and Cornell University, is an author whose first novel, The Body Is Water, was an ALA Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Minnesota Book Award. Her 2014 novel Dear Committee Members won the James Thurber Prize for Humor. Her other books include a short story collection and several books for younger readers. She is a faculty member in the creative writing program and the English department at the University of Minnesota.

About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.