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Mating: A Novel Paperback – International Edition, September 1, 1992
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He was smiling at Kgosetlemang--the event was to be considered over with, clearly--and I could tell that his gingivae were as good as mine; which is saying a lot. I attend to my gums. People in the bush don't always attend to their oral hygiene, not to mention other niceties. There was no sign of that here. I of course am fanatical about my gums because my idea of what the movie I Wake Up Screaming is about is a woman who has to keep dating to find her soulmate and she's had to get dentures. I have very long-range anxieties.Entranced by this potential soulmate, our heroine strikes out into the Kalahari Desert with a couple of donkeys and follows him to his utopia where sexual attraction, regional politics, and social experimentation make for very strange bedfellows, indeed.
Mating is a fiercely intelligent, hugely ambitious novel that takes on feminism, socialism, political corruption, foreign-sponsored rural development projects, and, yes, male-female relations in ways that are simultaneously hilarious and disturbing. Certainly Rush's language is a big part of what makes the novel work: the narrator's combination of elevated vocabulary and wacky non sequiturs is inspired. When, for example, Denoon explains to her that most of the women in Tsau are celibate and therefore so is he, she reflects that "of course the spiritus rector of a female community would need to be a sexual solitary, at least during the foundational period." She then wonders if "this situation was the analog of western series on television where the female watchership shrank to nothing when the producers let the marshal get married." Mating is remarkable for its wit, its acuity, and its ability to satirize without demeaning; it's also a heck of an entertaining story. Jane Austen would have been proud. --Alix Wilber
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The narrator is not much of a storyteller. She doesn't seem to think in terms of dramatic tension -- cliffhangers, resolutions, punch lines, and all that. But she gradually builds up a vivid self-portrait, as well as a compelling account of her love affair with the equally complex character of Nelson Denoon. Her observations about the social dynamics of Tsau -- Denoon's not quite u! topian experimental village -- completely took me in.
In the course of the book, the narrator becomes a less and less reliable witness. As her partner's spiritual questing takes him into Zenlike realms that she herself finds unapproachable, it is left to the reader to decide whether Denoon is becoming genuinely holy or, as the narrator believes, going crazy. "Consciousness is bliss," Denoon intones. How crazy is that?
The wonder of Mating is that Rush has created a narrator who is so sympathetic, so intact and credible, that one is tempted to attribute the novel's strengths and weaknesses to this central character rather than to the author. She earned her American Book Award. So did Rush.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even the positive reviews I've seen on Amazon seem to acknowledge that this book is indulgent, bloated, overwritten. Read morePublished 13 days ago by I Taught My Kitten To Read
This book received a high award which is the only reason I began reading it. It is written in one of the most awkward styles I've ever encountered with unusual use of punctuation... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
Mating reminded me a bit of Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland in that it took me fifty or so pages to realize that the unnamed narrator was supposed to be female, and only then... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jennifer Grey
Darned if I know what to say about this book. I found it truly compelling, in the sense that I couldn't move on to read anything else until I had this firmly and finally under my... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Giselle
Off the chart terrific...if you're willing to wade through lots of words. (Lots of words. I have a good vocabulary and was forced to the dictionary every page or so... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mike Koetting
Haven't finished it and don't know if I will. This is where I learned to appreciate that my Kindle is tied to a dictionary; I've never used that function more! Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kristen M. Foster
I will not synopsize this book except to say that it is too long by about 250 pages. I found the story of the spying mission and and all of its related details unworthy of... Read morePublished 11 months ago by E. Feldman
Couldn't get into it. Didn't particularly like the characters. I'm sure the fault was mine since I don't, as a rule, read novels. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Julia C. Ford