Read Mating Online

Authors: Norman Rush


Praise for

“The best rendering of erotic politics … since D. H. Lawrence … a marvelous novel, one in which a resolutely independent voice claims new imaginative territory … The voice of Rush’s narrator is immediate, instructive and endearing.”

The New York Review of Books

“Witty, raunchy … prodigiously aspiring … a remarkable book … His protagonist is a memorable female character: a continually shifting prism that revolves from dashing to needy, from witty to morose … wonderfully varied and pungent.”

Los Angeles Times Book Review

“It draws the reader steadily in. Not toward the heart of darkness but toward brilliant illumination.”

The New York Times

“Bold and ambitious … delightful, provocative.”

—San Francisco Chronicle

“Brilliantly written … utterly
sui generis
!… Rush has alerted us to the transfiguring power of passion.… He deploys the narrative voice with … brio … wit and persuasiveness.”


“A novel that doesn’t insult the intelligence of either its readers or its characters: a dryly comic love story about grown-up people who take the life of the mind seriously and know they sometimes sound silly
… Mating
is state-of-the-art artifice.”


“An audaciously clever novel with substance as well as flash.”

—Detroit Free Press


Norman Rush was born and raised in the San Francisco area, and was graduated from Swarthmore College in 1956. He has been an antiquarian book dealer, a college instructor, and, with his wife, Elsa, lived and worked in Africa from 1978 to 1983.

His stories have appeared in
The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Grand Street,
and the
Best American Short Stories
of 1971, 1984, and 1985. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including an NEA grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship.

His first book,
a collection of stories, was published in 1986.
is his first novel. It was awarded the National Book Award for fiction.

Also by Norman Rush



Copyright © 1991 by Norman Rush

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published in hardcover by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, in 1991.

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc.:
Excerpt from “Songs for a Colored Singer” from
The Complete Poems, 1927-1979
by Elizabeth Bishop. Copyright © 1979, 1984 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc.
Random House, Inc.
: “Dishonor” from
The Complete Poems
by Edwin Denby. Copyright © 1986 by Full Court Press. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc.

Special Rider Music:
Excerpt from “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan. Copyright © 1962 by Warner Bros. Music. Copyright renewed 1990 by Bob Dylan. This arrangement copyright 1992, Special Rider Music. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Reprinted by permission.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Rush, Norman.
        Mating / Norman Rush.—1st Vintage International ed.
           p. cm.
        eISBN: 978-0-307-78935-8
        I. Title.
    [PS3568.U727M38   1992]
    813′.54—dc20         92-50106

Author photograph © Jerry Bauer


Everything I write is for Elsa, but especially this book, since in it her heart, sensibility, and intellect are so signally—if perforce esoterically—celebrated and exploited. My debt to her, in art and in life, grows however much I put against it. I also dedicate
to my beloved son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Monica, to my mother, and to the memory of my father, and to my lost child, Liza.

Another Disappointee

In Africa, you want more, I think.

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