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Moo [Mass Market Paperback]

Jane Smiley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Large Print --  
Paperback 12.99  
Mass Market Paperback, April 1998 --  
Audio, Cassette --  
Audio Download, Unabridged 18.50 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial

Book Description

April 1998
"DELECTABLY ENTERTAINING. . . . An uproariously funny and at the same time hauntingly melancholy portrait of a college community in the Midwest."
--The New York Times
Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, amid cow pastures and waving fields of grain, lies Moo University, a distinguished institution devoted to the art and science of agriculture. Here, among an atmosphere rife with devious plots, mischievous intrigue, lusty liaisons, and academic one-upmanship, Chairman X of the Horticulture Department harbors a secret fantasy to kill the dean; Mrs. Walker, the provost's right hand and campus information queen, knows where all the bodies are buried; Timothy Nonahan, associate professor of English, advocates eavesdropping for his creative writing assignments; and Bob Carlson, a sophomore, feeds and maintains his only friend: a hog named Earl Butz. In this wonderfully written and masterfully plotted novel, Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres, offers us a wickedly funny comedy that is also a darkly poignant slice of life.
"FAST, HILARIOUS, AND HEARTBREAKING . . . Not for a minute does Moo lose its perfect satiric pitch or its pacing. . . . Don't skip a page, don't skip a paragraph. It's going to be on the final."
--People
"SMART, IRREVERENT, AND WICKEDLY TENDER . . . Moo suggests a mix of Tom Wolfe's wit and John Updike's satiny reach . . . Engaging."
--The Boston Globe
"ENTERTAINING . . . Displays a wicked wit and an unerring eye for American foibles . . . Stuffed with memorable characters, sparkling with deliciously acid humor, Moo is a rare bird in today's literary menagerie: a great read that also makes you think."
--Chicago Sun-Times


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Books (April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804117683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804117685
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.6 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,591,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Jane Smiley was born in LA, grew up in St Louis and studied at Vassar and Iowa. She won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award in 1992 for ‘A Thousand Acres’.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Send-Up 19 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Moo is Jane Smiley's terrific send-up of education, bureaucracy, racism, politics, love and just about everything else in the 1980s.
Set in a fictional Iowa university town, Moo U. is as much fun as a roller-coaster ride and features a cast of characters that are nothing short of hilarious. There is English professor, Tim Monahan, who is perpetually preoccupied with his always-imminent raise and promotion; provost Ivar Harstad, who is coping with the governor's cuts in university funding; and Bo Jones' secret experiment involving a hog named Earl Butz. Really!
And, it only gets better. There is Dr. Lionel Gift who gets hopelessly involved with a Texas billionaire named Arlen Martin. The two cook up a project to mine gold from the world's last virgin rainforest, a project that incurs the wrath Chairman X, a man so caught up in leftist ideology he forgets to marry the mother of his children...for more than twenty years. And best of all, there is Mrs. Walker, the plotting and conniving lesbian secretary to the provost who secretly runs everything at Moo U. with an iron hand.
If it seems like Smiley doesn't write much about education in this book about university life, then that's exactly right, for education has little to do with the day-to-day goings-on at Moo U. Moo U. and its cast of off-beat characters are really a microcosm of America under the Reagan Administration and Moo U. could be any university in the United States.
The only thing wrong with Moo is that, while it is supposed to be satire, it just misses the mark. Don't get me wrong, this is a hilarious book and a hilarious send-up, but I think true satire requires a harder heart than Smiley seems to have. The ending is a bit of a letdown, especially after the rollicking good ride Smiley has taken us on to get us there. Anyone who doesn't mind a bit of a letdown, however, will find Moo an enjoyable and hilarious book that makes fun of just about everything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars too long 30 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book too long. My copy has small print but even so it's over 400 pages. I much prefer David Lodge's campus novels which I would highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it... 17 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback
As a University employee, I found this hilarious. It may seem like a comedy, but to me it was more like nonfiction :) Amazingly vivid and engaging writing, as usual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Multiple strands 15 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was such a pleasurable read - highly intelligent, witty, clever, funny and poignant. Smiley here takes on American academia. Reminiscent for me of Richard Russo's novel Straight Man, though I don't know which novel came first, in that it also describes the terrible jockeying for tenure and the seething disquiet and discontent that seems to lie beneath the American academic life-style. This was equally, if not more, entertaining.

There is a richness in Smiley's characterisations that can differentiate at a stroke what life feels like for four different girls sharing a college room - and there is a wide variety of characters - secretaries, serving ladies, new tutors, tenured professors, administrative staff - all given sharp and clear delineation with effortless craft in the writing. The plot is beautifully worked through, with multiple strands - again Smiley makes it seem effortless.
This was Jane Smiley's first book but one would never know it; she has supreme artistry and powers of invention. Moo is a sheer pleasure from start to finish.
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