Cover of: Mortals | Norman Rush

About the Book

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.

Edition Notes

Genre
Fiction

The Physical Object

Pagination
715 p.
Number of pages
715

ID Numbers

Open Library
OL23247693M
Internet Archive
mortalsnovel00rush
ISBN 10
0679406220
LC Control Number
2002043289
Library Thing
168163
Goodreads
986298
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History

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August 12, 2011 Edited by ImportBot add ia_box_id to scanned books
October 28, 2010 Edited by ImportBot Added new cover
October 28, 2010 Edited by ImportBot Found a matching record from Internet Archive .
August 19, 2010 Edited by IdentifierBot added LibraryThing ID
May 29, 2009 Created by ImportBot Initial record created, from Collingswood Public Library MARC record.