Straight Man

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For the straight man half of a comedy duo, see Double act.
First edition

Straight Man (New York: Random House, 1997) is a novel by Richard Russo set at the fictional West Central Pennsylvania University in Railton, Pennsylvania. It is a mid-life crisis tale told in the first person by William Henry Devereaux, Jr., the unlikely interim chairman of the English department. Notable moments include the chairman's hiding in the rafters as the faculty vote on his dismissal, his threat of killing a campus pond duck every day until the department receives a budget, flirtations between faculty and students, satires on academic scholarship and stardom, and love and health in the season of grace. It is rumored that the material for this book came from Russo's experiences teaching at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Southern Connecticut State University or at Penn State Altoona.[1]

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