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Mortals *Signed 1st

Rush, Norman

462 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0679406220 / ISBN 13: 9780679406228
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2003
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Barbara Mader - Children's Books (University Place, WA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing. Second novel by the author of Mating, winner of the National Book Award. AS NEW in AS NEW jacket. SIGNED on the title page by the author. Bookseller Inventory # 83062501

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Mortals *Signed 1st

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition, Stated.

About this title

Synopsis:

The greatly anticipated new novel by Norman Rush—whose first novel, Mating, won the National Book Award and was everywhere acclaimed—is his richest work yet. It is at once a political adventure, a social comedy, and a passionate triangle. It is set in the 1990s in Botswana—the African country Rush has indelibly made his own fictional territory.

Mortals chronicles the misadventures of three ex-pat Americans: Ray Finch, a contract CIA agent, operating undercover as an English instructor in a private school, who is setting out on perhaps his most difficult assignment; his beautiful but slightly foolish and disaffected wife, Iris, with whom he is obsessively in love; and Davis Morel, an iconoclastic black holistic physician, who is on a personal mission to “lift the yoke of Christian belief from Africa.”

The passions of these three entangle them with a local populist leader, Samuel Kerekang, whose purposes are grotesquely misconstrued by the CIA, fixated as the agency is on the astonishing collapse of world socialism and the simultaneous, paradoxical triumph of radical black nationalism in South Africa, Botswana’s neighbor. And when a small but violent insurrection erupts in the wild northern part of the country, inspired by Kerekang but stoked by the erotic and political intrigues of the American trio—the outcome is explosive and often explosively funny.

Along the way, there are many pleasures. Letters from Ray’s brilliantly hostile brother and Iris’s woebegone sister provide a running commentary on contemporary life in America. Africa and Africans are powerfully evoked, and the expatriate scene is cheerfully skewered.

Through lives lived ardently in an unforgiving land, Mortals examines with wit and insight the dilemmas of power, religion, rebellion, and contending versions of liberation and love. It is a study of a marriage over time, and a man’s struggle to find his way when his private and public worlds are shifting. It is Norman Rush’s most commanding work.

Review:

Surely someone has already pointed out the irony of the surname Rush for a writer who can devote a long paragraph to uneven paving tiles. Mortals--the follow-up to Norman Rush's National Book Award-winning Mating--is a complex, unhurried tour de force; the beautifully rendered story of the end of a marriage. Ray and Iris Finch are white American expatriates in Botswana. A school principal and Milton scholar, Ray is also a contract agent for the CIA. But Ray's new boss doesn't want to see the gorgeous reports into which Finch has channeled all the talent and ambition that might otherwise have gone into poetry. He is asked to submit only his notes. This is clearly a demotion, and it occurs at the same moment that Ray's adored wife begins to develop feelings for her doctor, a charismatic black American with dangerous political ideas. Like many brilliant novels, Mortals has an Achilles heel. The book is too long by as much as 200 pages. Those pages aren't without interest, and if--like the author--you find the narrative voice of this novel compelling in itself, you will not mind the lengthy anecdotes, hair-splitting, and digressions that Rush indulges in. Other readers may do a little judicious skimming in the second half of the book and still experience the pleasures of this masterful and psychologically acute novel. --Regina Marler

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All dust jackets are covered with clear, archival-quality protective book jacket covers.

Book condition: I try to be clear and accurate in my grading. Abbreviations used: FINE = Fine (new or very nearly new condition; clean, bright, not price-clipped, no p...

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