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Rameaus Niece Paperback – March 6, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Trafalgar Square (March 6, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340684682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340684689
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,333,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A bestselling author grows infatuated with a lascivious 18th century novel in Schine's gem-like, comic novel.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Although she considers herself happily married to a gregarious Englishman who teaches at Columbia University and is an inveterate quoter of poetry, Margaret Nathan, author of a best-selling scholarly biography, finds that her equilibrium is thrown when she chances upon Rameau's Niece , the manuscript of an 18th-century French erotic novel. Haunted by the sensual images that passages from Rameau's Niece have triggered, Margaret finds herself sexually attracted to a woman friend, a gay male friend, her dentist, and several other acquaintances, and she begins to question the viability of her marriage. Schine controls her quirky plot line with the same wit and style demonstrated in her earlier novels, Alice in Bed (o.p.) and To the Birdhouse ( LJ 5/15/90). She satirizes marriage, philosophy, intellectuals, sexuality, and the relentless search for self-knowledge through Margaret's efforts at fulfillment and liberal quotes from Rameau's Niece. Brainy but forgetful and shy, despite her accomplishments, Margaret is a refreshing character. Recommended for most collections.
- Harriet Gottfried, NYPL
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Cathleen Schine is the author of The New Yorkers and The Love Letter, among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By MJ on September 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I just had to write something to offset the only review this book has been given here. Rameau's Niece is a terrific book- a clever and often very funny send-up of the world of academia and the timeless chasm between human intelligence and the human sex drive. The characters aren't *meant* to be likeable. They're generally bewildered intellectuals and wannabe hedonists, meant to be entertaining.
Take a chance. Buy this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Read this book. It's fun in a literary sort of way, so if you're not into that kind of thing, then you might want to give it a miss. I love reading and aspire to be one of those arty, high brow literary types but know I can't, so I read books like these to live vicariously through the characters. But seriously, enough with the bad reviews already! This is an entertaining, quirky, and humorous read. Sure, the characters are annoying at times... but they're meant to be that way, and besides, name one person in your own life who isn't. There you go! So read this book (be sure to have a cup of coffee and some cookies nearby, because it's just that sort of book) and come back here and tell us how much you enjoyed it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth L. Brewer on September 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I also want to respond to that bitterly negative one-star review. I'd say that I've read *Rameau's Niece* six times at least, with undiminished enjoyment. It does appeal primarily to a narrow audience (it was recommended to me when I was in graduate school), but I resent the reviewer presuming to speak for everyone in roundly asserting that reading it is "a waste of time." Reading it has been some of the best time I've ever spent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on September 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
The heroine of Schine's witty, often hilarious novel of lust and marriage, identity and obsession, Margaret Nathan, is a young academic whose scholarly book about an obscure 18-century French female anatomist "crept" onto the bestseller list and "settled in," the latest unread rage among feminists. Success spares her a teacher's fate -- the agony of intellectual exposure. For Margaret is forgetful. Not charmingly absent-minded but mortifyingly blank.

Dinner parties are silent mine fields of forgotten names and accomplishments, "unable to ask the question because of a feeling that she ought already to know the answer but didn't...." But Margaret shines at research, hungry for knowledge to entrance her mind until supplanted by the next project.

Edward, her charming, urbane, ebullient and beamingly egotistical husband insists "that her appalling memory was cleansing, that she came to everything fresh." He forgets nothing. Their marriage, a perfect complement, is replete with satisfaction and love

.

But Margaret, falling under the spell of an anonymous 18th-century libertine manuscript, "Rameau's Niece," chafes at too much contentment. "Margaret was a demanding person, hard on herself, certainly; harder by far on everyone else." She determines, like some inept Don Juan, to discover herself through lustful experimentation.

Margaret's dangerous mood, her crankiness and panics are all hilariously realistic. The trouble is the manuscript that caused the trouble in the first place. Full of obscure references, plagiarisms and academic jokes, it's full of pitfalls for the forgetful Margaret and the averagely educated reader.

Nobody likes to feel they're missing the point and Schine, ("To the Birdhouse") scinitillatingly aware, makes a joke even of this-- assuming the reader makes it that far. A delightfully written novel, with a disappointingly muddled middle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia M Hall on February 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
I settled down for what I assumed would be an easy read about an easy jaunt through the streets of Manhattan while struggling to "find oneself" after several years of marriage; you know, Mid-Life-Crisis 101 (through they eyes of a 29 year old much to young to have a mid-life crisis so we will call it a mid-wife crisis; a woman married a decade...that is at least feasible!) and instead I was gifted with a wonderfully written intellectual satire on "intellectual" life and the not-so "intellectual" pursuits of said intellectuals. Hysterical and the prose was like a tall cool cocktail on a hot summer day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laraine Walker on May 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started out disliking this book but I hung in there because I am a Cathleen Schine fan. The excerpts from the book Margaret was translating were at first confusing but once I figured out what she was doing it was fine although they were too long too repetitious. My thought about Margaret? Lady you are just so Nuts! She gets back to Edward in the end. He got the short end of the deal. What did Cathleen Schine get right? The competitive aspect of academia, the worship of and from students, the self importance and finally the underlying decency of the people in the colleges.
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