Professor William Henry "Hank" Devereaux Jr. is trapped by tenure at Railton College, a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rustbelt. Hank is the unlikely and reluctant chairman of the English department, a department more savagely divided than the Balkans. His discontent is rooted in unresolved issues with his father and a mediocre and entitled student body. Hank spirals into a regression to his 14-year-old self: flouting administrators, alienating his peers, and threatening to execute a goose on live television. Based on the novel Straight Man by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo.