Quality Time at St Chinian


Quality Time at St Chinian


"a charming debut novel . . . tremendous fun"
Kathleen MacMahon, author of The Long, Hot Summer

Life is good at the young University of Saint Chinian in sunlit south-west France. All involved enjoy a happy time: some teaching is required, but research is entirely optional. The students too are a joyful group. For a moderate amount of study, which does not greatly encroach upon their leisure time, they are assured of a fairly decent degree and a job – possibly even a pensionable on – and have plenty of free time to engage in the serious business of hanging around, drinking coffee, playing pinball and fornicating.

    However, this blessed state of affairs is under threat. The authorities in Paris have imposed a visit from an external committee of international experts to compile a detailed report on the academic quality of the university. The cold wind of managerial intimidation, so common in other areas of contemporary life, is about to blow through the hallowed halls academia. The serpent is insinuating itself into paradise.

    A comic campus novel in the style of Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge, Quality Time at St Chinian is guaranteed to raise a wry smile from anyone who has come into contact with the unusual world of academia, as student, teacher or (whisper it) administrator.

About the Author

Professor Patrick Masterson was President and Professor of Philosophy at University College Dublin. He was President of the European University Institute in Florence between 1994 and 2002. His numerous academic publications include Atheism and Alienation, which was translated into Japanese. He is a Chevalier dans la Confrèrie des Chevaliers Vignerons de Saint-Christophe. Patrick has himself chaired several international quality-appraisal committees, so knows whereof he speaks. Quality Time at St Chinian is his first novel.

Praise for Quality Time at St Chinian

‘Paddy Masterson has a keen eye and a sharp wit, as well as a veteran’s understanding of university politics. In this charming debut novel, he serves up a cocktail of academic mischief and misadventure under the languid Languedoc sunshine. The result is tremendous fun.’

Kathleen MacMahon, author of The Long, Hot Summer

 ‘Patrick Masterson’s campus novel bubbles with hilarity, erudition and eros–making for a brew as heady and spiced as the local vintages of Languedoc in which the riotous plot unfolds.’

Richard Kearney, the Charles Seelig professor of philosophy at Boston College

‘A delightful romp through the absurdities of university bureaucracy, bossy eurocrats, international rankings and academic pretentiousness . . . from the inside.’

Dr Maurice Manning, Chancellor of the National University of Ireland

‘Paddy Masterson has drawn on his insider knowledge of the academy, and mischievous wit, to pen a campus novel brimming with a recognisable cast of characters at the mythical University of Saint Chinian as they confront the arrival of quality appraisal and the dreaded external peer review. The characters are beautifully and sympathetically drawn and the portrayal of the external visit is very funny. The novel also has a serious purpose. It harks back to a university that is all but gone and reminds us just what has been lost in the rush to university management and appraisal.’

Professor Brigid Laffan, European University Institute, Florence

‘Patrick Masterson puts Saint Chinian on the map, celebrating this wonderfully unlikely, exquisitely illustrative campus with the mirth and affection of a masterful humorist. The institution is a worthy European counterpart of David Lodge’s Euphoria State.’

Professor Philip Pettit, Princeton University

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