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Hardcover Mating Book

ISBN: 0394544722

ISBN13: 9780394544724


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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

Set in the African republic of Botswana--the locale of his acclaimed short story collection, Whites--Norman Rush's novel simultaneously explores the highest of intellectual high grounds and the most tortuous ravines of the erotic. tackles the geopolitics of poverty and the mystery of what men and women really want. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Stunning, but not for everyone

I took forever deciding whether I should read Mating, whether I wanted to commit my time to such a long and apparently difficult book, whether it would be worth it in the end. I thought about buying it a number of times, but couldn't get up the courage -- what if it just gathered dust on a shelf? I borrowed a copy from the library, finally, and promised myself that if I hated it (as a number of my friends had) I would abandon it quickly.Now Mating is one of the few books I would want to have with me on a desert island. I can easily, happily say it was one of the great reading experiences of my life so far. But it's also a book that seems tailor-made to my sensibilities, as if somebody asked me, "What would you like a big novel to contain?" and then set out to write it.There's a compelling narrative voice. There's tremendous erudition, so I felt like I learned something about the world on every page. There's a careful attention to language, and yet the language is free and full to bursting. There's all sorts of talk about politics, the history of leftist political movements (particularly anarcho-syndicalism, my own favorite), and utopia. There's a love story, but it's written about without mushy romantic spewings. There's an exotic locale. I'm a happy reader!But you won't like this book if you're looking for a standard storyline and if you don't have patience for intellectual dialogues scattered throughout the action and if you want clean and unambiguous answers to everything. You also won't like it if you demand that first person narrators be always appealing. I found the narrator often annoying, but in the end was quite glad to have known her.To have known her -- yes, by the end you speak of the narrator and her obsession and love, Nelson Denoon, as people you have known. (Or perhaps I shouldn't use the second-person here, since I know people who do not agree with me, who found the characters simply exasperating. So let me rephrase: I felt like I had known them.)If you're fairly well-read, you can test whether you're going to find this book stunning or frustrating by playing a cross-referencing mindgame of this sort: Imagine that James Joyce finished Ulysses and was annoyed that his writing hadn't tackled all of the problems of human civilizations. Just then, a time warp appeared, and Paulo Freire and Emma Goldman stepped out and lectured Joyce for 40 days and 40 nights. He was thrilled. He began to write and discovered that a small part of his talent had been taken over by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and another part by Don DeLillo. Ben Okri had found his way in there somewhere, too. Writing was hard with all those different voices pulling at him, but he got through, and the book he produced was Mating.If the names above are unfamiliar to you, then ask yourself how you felt while reading it. If you made it through to this paragraph, and you're not mad at me for inserting the above (in fact, you found it piqued your curiosity)

Timeless book - disappointing ending

I owe my return to pleasureable reading to this book. From the first pages I was consumed with reading further, to the distraction of my other responsibilities. Be sure to keep a dictionary nearby, as if a child early in the learning process. In fact, while some might find the book to be distant because of the vocabulary, I found the challenge rewarding and insightful into the overly analytical mind of the narrator. Also, having lived in Zimbabwe, I found the descriptions of the region and the geopolitics insightful and frank. I think the depth of thought regarding relationships and the human drive for understanding relationships is timeless, and look forward to reading again at a different point in my life. I truly believe new ideas will capture your mind with each reading. For such a phenomenal book, I still am perplexed, and slightly disappointed with the ending which seemed hurriedly pieced together and concluded. For the serious reader, especially coming out of a long-term relationship or having recently been overseas, this book will keep you entranced.

Companionship for those men and women who have been there

Mating showed me and other peripatetic readers that we have a travelling companion who has been there, too. The travels are both geographic and interior; and like the heroine in Tsau, we have all been strangers in a strange land. What a joy and relief to laugh aloud at travails of body and spirit, much as we did in the Peace Corps, approaching problems of romance and society with both intelligence and wit, because the problems were often too large, too universal, and not demanding of a solution. Would we do it again- definitely. Would we revisit Mating again- undoubtedly. Imagine a life among IMPORTANT issues, at an IMPORTANT time, and processing that life and those issues with intelligence, wit, irony, and the realization that nothing has an don't need to imagine much farther than MATING. Thank you, Mr. Rush; you, too, know that we are not alone, we citizens of the world and of the heart, and isn't it a hoot?

a love affair with language

My second reading of Mating left me exhilarated, much like the first. This remains one of my favorite books of all time. One of the reasons is the author's love of language: not only does he know how to capture nuances in feeling and intellectual discourse; he knows that language is what distinguishes human from animal mating. The author loves to make up word endings, or new usages, and this is as thrilling as any other discovery, and this book is full of them, including the reader's realization that the author's abandoned thesis is re-written as nothing less than a study of Denoon, or the intellectuall male as viewed by the equally intellectually precocious female anthropologist. Margaret Mead meets Margaret Atwood. After a while, i just put away the dictionary and plunged on. The book is rewarding. I recommend it, with the caveat that parts of the journey are difficult, but ultimately well worth taking. Pourquoi pas?

My favorite book

"Mating" still stands, years after I first read it (I then read it again), as my favorite book. Although I almost feel like I should apologize for liking it so much, because it could certainly be interpreted by many as overly pompous. Maybe as a grad student I identified with female character (who has no name) who has really struggled in every sense of the word to get to where she is, and without a doubt Nelson Denoon would be my ideal partner, quirks and all! How refreshing to see an academic who goes beyond mere theory. I saw Norman Rush reading from the novel, and I said that I was halfway through the book before I realized that the woman had no name, and I asked why that was. He replied that he himself was halfway through writing the book when he realized that she had no name (!) and decided to leave it that way because otherwise people make a lot of character associations based on a name. The part of the book that has stayed with me the longest is when Nelson reflects on when he was a child, and he had "peak experiences," thinking that these were just the first of a life time of such events, not realizing that they would be few and far between. That insight has actually helped me to be more aware of my own "peaks," even as they happen.
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