Lee Upton’s newest novel carries high praise

Professor Lee Upton enchants students with her reading of her newest novel.
Photo by Willem Ystma ’16
English Professor Lee Upton publishes her first novel, a collection of short stories, “The Tao of Humilation.”

Writer-in-Residence and English professor Lee Upton celebrated the publishing of her new novel “The Tao of Humiliation” with a Fiction Reading and Book Signing on Tuesday, September 30, at the Skillman Library. The astounding writer and inspiring professor honored the Lafayette community by reading excerpts of her quirky new story titled “Hello, I’m Saying Hello Because That’s What I Do When I Say Hello.”

Her fourteenth novel, “The Tao of Humiliation” has received several praises, including a review from The New York Times applauding the author. “Readers will want to live inside this wonderful book,” the Times article read. “Not just in its parties and wrecked gatherings and sophisticated conversations but in the sentences themselves, which are genuine shelters: long, erudite, warmhearted and capable, brimming with scholarship and knowledge.” It has also received a very impressive rating of 3.9 out of 5 on Goodreads.

Upton renders the latest addition to her spectacular career as consisting of “seventeen different stories in the collection and each varies a good deal. Some are from young women’s point of view, older women’s point of view, and some are from men’s point of view, so there is a lot of different voices clamoring.” In defining the significance of the title itself, Lee Upton characterizes it as the way of humiliation, in which certain characters are tested by their life circumstances. Upton is interested in characters who are wounded in some respect and find a way to accept parts of themselves that perhaps their culture or their family do not approve of.

“The Tao of Humiliation” is Upton’s first collection of short stories, and possesses a “different shape and emotional qualities.” In her advice to young writers, Upton recommends reading, reading, and reading. “There are no short cuts. You have to read a lot and write a lot and fall in love with the entire process” Upton said.

As if being an incredible writer and professor wasn’t enough, Lee Upton’s charming persona enlivened and delighted the atmosphere of her reading. She also has very exciting news coming this spring when she will publish her sixth poetry book titled “Bottle, The Bottles, The Bottles, The Bottles.”

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