Fight for Your Long Day: A Novel
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by Alex Kudera
Fiction, Trade Paperback Original
6 x 9 in / 266 pages
Publication Date: October 2010
Recipient of the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) Gold Medal for Best Fiction from the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region
As Featured in The Chronicle
“Philadelphia is Duffleman’s Dublin, and Fight for Your Long Day is full of symbolic moments and literary jokes that connect the novel to other works such as Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Blue Angel by Francine Prose, Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, Richard Russo’s Straight Man, Taxi Driver, and maybe even Robert Crumb’s comics.
Ostensibly about the plight of adjuncts, Duffleman’s long day is a nightmare from which millions of workers are trying to awake. Trapped in positions of subordination, insecurity, and fear, Duffleman is an Everyman for the new American economy. And Kudera’s novel merits the attention of everyone who cares about that.” – William Pannapacker, Considering Adjunct Misery, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 26, 2013
In American pop culture, the handsome college professor is easy to spot. He’s endearingly neurotic, his unfinished novel usually stuffs an expensive mahogany desk, and female students sigh in his wake. And even if it’s not explicitly explained to us, the handsome college professor always has one other thing: tenure. But the further one moves down the academic totem pole, professors start to look very different. On the very bottom, lies a less dashing, less financially secure, and altogether less noticed figure: The adjunct professor.
In Fight for Your Long Day, we meet Cyrus Duffleman – “Duffy” for short – an adjunct professor who can barely afford his two-room apartment. Forget about an unfinished novel: He’d be thrilled with health insurance. Still, he gamely shuffles to four urban universities each day to teach, and works a security guard graveyard shift once a week. Cobbled together, he can almost make a living. But today, Duffy’s routine isn’t quite so predictable.
The cryptic mumblings of a possibly psychotic student. A bow-and-arrow assassination. A small government protest, then, a very large and violent one. Lunch with a homeless woman who claims to have been a 1950s film star. Frenzied attempts to spare his sanity (and safety) – all while a female coed quietly eyes him.
Part A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole), part Straight Man (Richard Russo), Fight for Your Long Day is a promising debut from a new literary talent. It will resonate with anyone who has ever known, been taught by, felt sorry for, or lived the life of an adjunct professor.
Praise for Fight for Your Long Day
”Alex Kudera’s novel makes lemonade out of the knowledge economy’s stingy share of lemons, eking every ounce of catharsis owed to veterans of the core curriculum’s front lines.”
-Justin Bauer, books columnist, Philadelphia City Paper
“Kudera writes elegantly and has created an insightful, tragic, sometimes comic protagonist…But it is Duffleman’s hope in the face of adversity that is inspiring…I am better for reading it.”
-as reviewed by Isaac Sweeney in Academe Magazine
“[A] most impressive first novel with an unforgettable protagonist…I would not be surprised if Fight for Your Long Day becomes a classic of early 21st century American literature.”
-Peter D.G. Brown, Distinguished Service Professor of German State University of New York at New Paltz, and Co-Founder, New Faculty Majority
“The marvelous debut is worthy of a place on the same bookshelf as Lucky Jim and A Confederacy of Dunces. The depiction of academic life had me both laughing and cringing at its accuracy. As in the best comic fiction, there is poignant undercurrent of seriousness in this novel. Kudera is the real deal.”
-Ron Rash, author of One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, The World Made Straight and Serena, holder of the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University.
About the Author
Alex Kudera is a Philadelphia native, and has been teaching writing at Clemson University in South Carolina since 2007. Fight for Your Long Day, which was first drafted in a walk-in closet in Seoul, South Korea, is his debut novel.