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When Martha fails at romance once again, she seeks solace from Iris Moonwagon and followers of the ancient matriarchal Goddess, in a novel that examines how men and women differ in their pursuit--and avoidance--of power, sex, and competition.
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In Hunters and Gatherers, author Francine Prose takes a hard, satiric look at the New Age movement and finds it wanting. This is the story of Martha, a fashion magazine fact checker who accidentally wanders into a gathering of goddess worshippers on a beach at Fire Island. When Martha saves the group's accident-prone leader from drowning, she is invited to join. Hoping for distraction from her recently broken heart, she accepts the invitation. Whatever doubts Martha might have about the group's rituals and beliefs she suppresses in favor of "confidence and calm, to become like the Goddess women and float on a cloud of faith that a broken answering machine was a message from your guardian angel ... " Eventually, however, the façade of a matriarchy " when everyone worshipped Her and lived in ease and gentleness toward one another and the Earth" cracks, and Martha discovers that goddess worshippers can be just as competitive, jealous, and petty as everyone else.
Talking sticks, sweat lodge rituals, Witches' Sabbaths, and vision quests--Prose has thrown everything including the proverbial New Age sink into Hunters and Gatherers. In Martha, the author has created a modern-day Candide. As her protagonist navigates through a hodgepodge of political ideologies and spiritual practices, Prose gleefully skewers a fad that borrows indiscriminately from other cultures and belief systems.About the Author:
The author of thirteen highly acclaimed novels and short story collections, including Hunters and Gatherers (Owl Books, 0-8050-4896-0) and Guided Tours of Hell (Owl Books, 0-8050-5586-X). Francine Prose writes regularly for O Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Observer, and Newsday.
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