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Moo Paperback – February 24, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307472760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307472762
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The hallowed halls of Moo University, a midwestern agricultural institution (aka "cow college"), are rife with devious plots, mischievous intrigue, lusty liaisons, and academic one-upsmanship. In this wonderfully written and masterfully plotted novel, Jane Smiley, the prizewinning author of A Thousand Acres, offers a wickedly funny, darkly poignant comedy. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Effortlessly switching gears after the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres, Smiley delivers a surprising tour de force, a satire of university life that leaves no aspect of contemporary academia unscathed. The setting is a large midwestern agricultural college known as Moo U., whose faculty and students Smiley depicts with sophisticated humor, turning a gimlet eye on the hypocrisy, egomania, prejudice and self-delusion that flourish on campus-and also reflect society at large. Everybody at Moo U. has an agenda: academic, sexual, social, economic, political and philosophical. Among the more egregious types that Smiley portrays are Dr. Lionel Gift, an intellectual whore who calls students "customers" and is willing to skew research to further his name and line his pocketbook; Dr. Bo Jones, who is conducting a secret experiment on an appealing boar named Earl Butz (Earl and the horses on campus are nicer than the humans by a mile); and a superlatively bossy secretary who is a lot smarter than the Ph.Ds she serves. A chapter titled "Who's in Bed With Whom" clears things up in that department-but only temporarily, since musical beds is a continuous game. A quartet of women roommates who all hide secrets from each other, an unscrupulous "little Texan with jug ears" who wants to give the college tainted money, and a stuffy dean who thinks that anything he desires is God's will are some of the large cast of characters that Smiley manipulates with remarkable ease-and though some portrayals verge on caricature, she never goes over the line. Details of midwest topography, weather and culture are rendered with unerring authenticity. The narrative sails along with unflagging vigor and cleverness, and even the ironic denouement has an inevitability that Smiley orchestrates with hilarious wit. 100,000 first printing; BOMC selection; Random House Audio; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a tradition for a novelist who has taught at a university to write a novel that skewers university life: pompous, self-centered professors, useless meddling administrators, and students obsessed with sex, beer and football. Jane Smiley took a different path. "Moo" is a gentle and affectionate look at pompous, self-centered professors, useless meddling administrators, and students obsessed with sex, beer, and raising the world's biggest hog. Ms. Smiley has taken the same theme as the typical college novel, but her love of the academic circus and her sense of humor make "Moo" far more enjoyable than most such college life novels.

"Moo" stands with Richard Russo's "Straight Man" as one of the best written, most memorable and most enjoyable books about college life in America.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurie A. Brown VINE VOICE on February 21, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Moo U. is a land-grant university in one of the mid-Western states. The author presents us with a huge cast of characters: students, academics and bureaucrats. In this farcical send up of academia- albeit agricultural academia rather than the ivory tower sort- everyone is avid for something, be it sex, tenure, grades, money, power, food, or a way out of the life they have. The living metaphor of this greed sits at the very center of the campus, physically and symbolically: a huge hog named Earl Butz (this is set in the Reagan era, btw). He is an experiment, the focus of a study to see how large a pig can get if his needs are constantly met. His sole job is to eat, and he does it well. His existence is a secret from all but a few; no one suspects that inside the concrete walls of an old, unused building is an avid consumer, any more than the longings of the people are visible to their peers.

Smiley takes on racism, sexism, and classism as well as the academic life. This is a gentle satire. Pretty much all of her myriad characters are treated as flawed humans rather than evil doers or other caricatures. It’s like these people are friends and family of the author and she looks on them with smiling indulgence. While not uproarious as the blurb on the cover said, it was amusing and engaging.
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