“Scott J. Bloch’s Mount Wonder takes a group of college students on a wild ride borne on the wings of classic literature and poetry but buffeted by the contrary winds of relativism and administrative arrogance. It is a witty, clever, and funny novel, yet also serious in its search for the ancient foundations of beauty and truth.”
—Steven Faulkner, author of The Image: A Novel in Pieces
“Mount Wonder tells an important story of how a small group of students and teachers resisted and overcame the destruction of true liberal arts education. The obstacles and the ostracism they faced is still being used to squash individual and collective efforts to repeat their success. Mount Wonder contains a message that should be a guide to the future of education.”
—Deal W. Hudson, Host of Church and Culture, Ave Maria Radio Network
"'Wonder, being awestruck. That is what this whole study is about,' said Whelan. 'If you had them in your education, you wouldn’t need us.'"
Three University of Kansas professors—Paul Courtney, Chester Whelan, and Frederick Marin—teach a popular but controversial course in humanities called The Humanities Integration Program, also known as HIP. Bernard Kennisbaum, an honors student in competition for the Fulbright Scholarship, is recruited by the school’s chancellor to attend the HIP program and divulge information about the teaching techniques of its professors. Using the Fulbright and the offer of a stipend as an incentive, the chancellor convinces Bernard to report on the activities of HIP. “We simply want your impressions of HIP, the teachers, students, the academics.” The proposition puts Bernard in the middle of the program and close to the Botticelli-like Apryl, with whom he is enthralled. Bernard becomes friends with students who are a part of HIP, and he uncovers more than he could have ever imagined.
This novel is an absolute joy to read. It is filled with references to great literature. Quotes from writers and thinkers such as Plato, Shakespeare, and Aristotle make their way into delightful puns. In fact, as Bernard progresses through the HIP courses, readers are taken back to those profound writings encountered during university studies. The plot is filled with surprising twists that keep readers interested until the end. Bloch is a master storyteller who has created an excellent work that makes the reader consider such questions as “What is truth?” and “What is the purpose of education?” His use of the classics in the conversations between students, usually in puns, is delightful. The lecture scenes are a nice review of those great thinkers and writers of antiquity. This novel will have readers wanting to start reading it again as soon as the last page is finished.R
Kat Kennedy, US Review of Books