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Mating: A Novel Paperback – Sep 1 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage International Ed edition (Sept. 1 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067973709X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679737094
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.7 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19 1997
Format: Paperback
A promising beginning degenerates into typical male thinking about women. Touches about expatriate life are brilliant, but when Rush gets on the subject of woman's thinking, he gets bogged down. Made me want to go read books by women about women to get a real perspective, or Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone, which actually does get it
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Format: Hardcover
Don't read this book if you do not have an academic turn of mind. The vocabulary is out of sight but is just part of the fun. I did not know what I was getting into. I saw on the cover that the book had won a national award and I knew I was going to be spending two weeks in a hammock in Panama so I bought it and was thrilled to learn that it takes place in Botswana where I had visited before with the terrific books of Alexander McCall Smith and the Miss Marple of Botswana. I read every sentence and laughed out loud many times. The ending itself is funny. The protaganist gets herself so zonked out on her honey that she has to repete exactly the foibles of her predecesor when he is for once, just trying to be honest with her. Of course, she is young and believes in everything she learned in college. I certainly hope Rush is rushing to get another big fat careful novel out to us.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this one up a day before departing for an overland trip through east Africa. I thought,'Hmm, a book about Africa, perfect for a trip to Africa.' As some of you might know, there are hours of time to kill while cruising tarmac roads, and this was the only book available to me (I tried to trade with someone, albeit after having declared to everyone, 'This book wants to take a trip out the window!'). So I read it.
I've often had problems with characters I think could no way exist in our society, composites of real people the author knows, carrying on as if society has no effect on them. But fiction, this wonderful genre, is all about showing how people could carry on, how they could behave. And Rush shows how a person with the narrator's attributes, education, experiences could behave in the situation at hand. Yes, I have issues with the narrator's thought processes and I rolled my eyes at her overuse of vocabulary, but she is one interesting character. And the fact that she evoked such an emotional response from me is the reason I have to give this novel its propers.
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Format: Paperback
Mating is a chronicle of one woman's fascinating experiences in Botswana circa 1980 and centers on her love affair with the archetypal man-of-action, Nelson Denoon, an academic superstar who has developed from scratch a remote, self-sustaining village inhabited and administered by dispossessed African women. The narrator, whose name we never learn, is an erudite anthropology MA of 32 who is struggling over her thesis and what occupation to pursue in life. After learning about Denoon's secret village she risks great peril in crossing the desert in order to cling to him and become his Boswell. She is not near so much interested in this unique and interesting village, or love, as she is in the spectacle of Denoon himself. Rush gives an impressive portrait of both Denoon and the woman in this novel. It is truly an accomplishment in itself that Rush narrates in the first person as this thoroughly convincing woman. There is also a gripping story being told here that makes this novel much more than the erudite account of two big brains in Africa that it primarily is. The splendid prose is lucid and filled with uncommon and exotic words and foreign expressions, used not at all pretentiously or superfluously.
The prose carries the novel and the story makes it worth the trip, but there is a lot to the charge that it is too self-conscious in a way that would make even Proust turn in his grave. Nothing about the woman's life is kept from us and we are bombarded with painful, obsessive over-analysis of ever aspect of life, even the most minute and seemingly trivial things. Everything in the world, every comment, every movement, is put under the microscopic lens of her academicians eye.
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Format: Paperback
I cannot emphasize enough how much I would advise against reading this book. I was annoyed and offended within the first two pages but forced myself through it since I was reading it for a book club. (About 9 of the 10 book club members detested the book as well.)
The language was poor, the characters contrived and the relationship intangible. The book attempted a "feminist" angle which was weak and formulaic. I did not identify with characters and remained very concious of the author.
Probably the most troublesome part of this book was the portrayal of African people. (Having a degree in anthropology, some background in African history and culture, and having spent some time in Zimbabwe, I feel this rant is justified.) From early on, Rush recogizes that his character associates only with ex-pat whites and has no personal relationships with Africans. This does not mean, however, that he gives any recognition or insight into the ex-patriot subculture. On the contrary, we're supposed to trust the characters and their experience by virtue of being anthropologists. Later, her love interest establishes a supposed designed society of women from various ethnic groups. Rush ignores the fact that Africans, like anyone else, have cultural backgrounds and affinities. They are not a blank slate to be manipulated, (though African colonial history shows that Rush was not the first person to think so). His proposition would be difficult for individuals giving up everything they knew and believed. Furthermore, it would be difficult to mix ethnic groups without culture clashes, or confronting historic rivalries. Rush dehumanizes the African characters. This is particularly clear when we notice that only one of this society is really portrayed as an individual.
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