PRIVILEGE

Enfield & Wizenty, 2019

With his divorce nearly finalized, the surprise success of his first book on the wane, and an ill-advised affair with grad student Lara Kitts put to bed, Dr. Barker Samuel Stone is on the precipice of a cozy tenure-track existence. All in all, none too shabby for a straight, aware, middle-class white dude, amirite?

Then an enigmatic e-mail sends Barker’s life spiralling along an unanticipated trajectory. Summoned to a late-night confab at the campaign office of controversial mayoral candidate Baz Randell – folk hero to some, populist blowhard to everyone else – Barker is looped in on an epic scandal that the politicos hope he might be able to mitigate.

In the midst of mounting chaos, Barker is informed that an anonymous complainant has levied a claim of sexual misconduct against him. Given the university’s embarrassing record of botching cases of harassment and assault, Barker is advised that the administration is looking to bring the hammer down on someone – anyone – hard.

In his whole life, Barker has never before felt so much like a nail.

“The fictional man at this story’s heart has a Shakespearean flaw familiar to every one of us: he wants more. More sex, more money, more success, more exquisite food and drink, more love, more comfort and adventure. The story of his downfall made me uncomfortable, made me laugh, made me contemplate my own privilege and the concept of privilege as both a simplistic label and a necessary correction to historical injustice.”

Deborah Willis, author of The Dark and Other Love Stories

“Rothery shines his hilarious flashlight on the exclusive mechanisms of a university professor…engaged in dubious behaviour. The result: witty, hysterical, pathetic, prophetic – everything I want and need in this oh-so-apt, current day novel.”

Lee Kvern, author of 7 Ways To Sunday