Anik LaChev took her time with this story, that’s for sure. Seven years, to be exact.
Well, I shouldn’t complain – I’m one of those lucky souls who stumbled upon this somewhere around chapter IX (there are thirteen, in all) so it was only (?!) two or three years of waiting for me.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve reread Campus. At least four of those times it was unavoidable – if I wanted to follow a newly arrived chapter a year later I had to brush up my memories.
The fact I didn’t give up on it, plus the fact I reread it at least five or six times more simply for the pleasure of it should be a clue enough: Campus was definitely worth waiting for.
There are quite a few well chosen and well prepared ingredients that make this story a perfect meal. First of all, the somewhat exotic, academic setting in the ex-Eastern Germany city of Leipzig. Then, of course, as the main course – our characters, one of whom is the double hit on the perennial fantasies (the beautiful, accomplished professor who is also the boss); the other the Uberish version of Seven of Nine (nuff said).
As a side dish, the many vivid, beautifully crafted supporting roles that are simply crawling out of the pages.
Is this Uber? The author is certainly not running away from it (even the somewhat clumsy title illustration pictures Janeway and 7 of 9). Still, I can not but wish that author pushed herself just a little bit more and turned away from the ready-mades. The story she wove, the many other original characters she’d created certainly deserve that. Oh, what the hell – to tell the truth, if it weren’t for that silly illustration and her disclaimers I wouldn’t even look for Janeway and Seven of Nine in Lil and Johanna.
Of course, Campus is a love story first and foremost. But, I have always admired the fiction which managed to teach me something without preaching or being overbearing on the issues that matter to the author.
Learning about the intricate ways of the academia, the city of Leipzig, some aspects of the classical music, or Italian and Hungarian cooking has been almost as satisfying as the searing hot love story she delivers.
I love finding authors like this one – where I can snuggle comfortably in a story, trust the author to deliver me safely to the end of the trip while teaching me about the landscape on the way.
Anik LaChev certainly knows how to weave a story. As her other stories prove, she is the Master of Angst. Perhaps one or two hand-wringing situations felt a bit forced or unnecessary, but overall Campus is a joy to read.
One of my top five stories of all time…