The narrator of this splendidly expansive novel of high intellect and grand passion is an American anthropologist at loose ends in the South African republic of Botswana. She has a noble and exacting mind, a good waist, and a busted thesis project. She also has a yen for Nelson Denoon, a charismatic intellectual who is rumored to have founded a secretive and unorthodox utopian society in a remote corner of the Kalahari - one in which he is virtually the only man.
"Could not finish..."
At once a political adventure, a portrait of a passionate but imperiled marriage, and an acrobatic novel of ideas, Mortals marks Norman Rush’s return to the territory he has made his own, the southern African nation of Botswana. Nobody here is entirely what he claims to be. Ray Finch is not just a middle-aged Milton scholar but a CIA agent. His lovely and doted-upon wife, Iris, is also a possible adulteress. And Davis Morel, the black alternative physician who is treating her - while undertaking a quixotic campaign to de-Christianize Africa - may also be her lover.
In his long-awaited new novel, Norman Rush, author of three immensely praised books set in Africa, including the best-selling classic and National Book Award-winner Mating, returns home, giving us a sophisticated, often comical, romp through the particular joys and tribulations of marriage, and the dilemmas of friendship, as a group of college friends reunites in upstate New York 20-some years after graduation. When Douglas, the ringleader of a clique of self-styled wits of "superior sensibility" dies suddenly, his four remaining friends are summoned to his estate high in the Catskills to memorialize his life and mourn his passing.
"A glorification of unlikable characters"