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Rameau's Niece

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  190 ratings  ·  29 reviews
This witty companion to Rameau's Nephew, Diderot's light-footed masterpiece, traces the vagaries of a young woman's life as it begins to duplicate the surprising gyrations of an eighteenth-century lascivious novel she has uncovered. Along the path of temptation, love, lust, folly, and reconciliation through the sophisticated labyrinth of contemporary Manhattan, we join thi ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Plume (first published 1993)
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While it's gratifying to see how much Schine has developed as a novelist between this and The Three Weissmans of Westport, I can't say that's reason enough to read this earlier effort. It sounded promising: neurotic professor in NYC, working on a text of 18th-century erotica posing as a philosophical documents (excerpted within the novel, a la Possession), and she becomes a bit too immersed in her work and it distorts her perceptions. But it's rather too fluffy, the perspective too embedded in o ...more
What if a female scholar, neurotic (but not so talkative) as a Woody Allen character, resented her husband for succumbing to a mid-life crisis (before he actually succumbed to one), and lapsed into her own? What if her reading of eighteenth-century philosophy and pornography penetrated her psyche in the same way that a method actor’s research oftentimes worries or warps the amorphous boundaries of his own actual identity?

What if identity depended on memory, but this intellectual, female protago
There's a novel within the novel and a dissertation too, if only the protagonist could remember what she wrote it on! This novel is a lively, contemporary look into intellectual Neapolitan life amongst the literati movers and shakers of NYC.
What brilliant fun it is to be given a peek into the sleek lives of the uppercrust, into the higher echelons of the big city intellectual social set.

A neurotic story of love and friendship and a hilarious look at all the lovers that could have been. The nov
Procyon Lotor
Fra il b�h e il b�h (son dovuto accedere alla sintesi per ricordarmi qualcosa) - onesto libro d'intrattenimento da commedia leggera, quella che diverte pur non rassomigliando in nulla alla vita, letto tanto tempo fa che potrebbe essere iscritto a campione del genio del marketing librario adelphiano, in compenso l'illustrazione � un dettaglio del meraviglioso "les hasards heureux de l'escarpolette" di Fragonard. Per alcuni, da secoli, quasi un talismano contro la tristezza.
Margaret è una scrittrice che, parallelamente allo studio di un manoscritto libertino, mette in dubbio il proprio felice rapporto con il geniale marito Edward e si lancia in un vortice di fantasie adultere.
La prima parte del romanzo è un infinito racconto di felice vita coniugale e di insicurezze intellettual-borghesi. La seconda parte, invece, prendendo come pretesto un incontro a dir poco banale della protagonista con un misterioso francese, vorrebbe essere un parallelo della sua vita con il m
I received this book for free through the Goodreads First Read giveaway.

This book was a chore. Rarely have I encountered characters that I liked less. It's hard to tell if the characters are meant to be a parody of the over-thinky academic or not, but this is the perfect example of why a lot of people don't like academics (and I've read and loved a lot of books about the same). The structure and plot was as much of a deterrent as the characters. It's as though the author was intentionally trying
How could a novel with such sparkling wit can be so boring? An academic with a poor memory (I liked that conceit--made me feel better about myself) is writing about a Victorian pornographic novel she has discovered, and somehow, for no apparent reason, begins to fall in love with various people in her life-- her dentist, her agent, a woman friend-- abandoning her brilliant and loving husband. All this must have something to do with Diderot's Rameau's Nephew, but a casual glance at Wikipedia did ...more
intelligent and fun, quirky - good for lovers of poetry.

Beautifully written.
Nov 24, 2011 Marcia marked it as abandoned
I don't want to give this book the one star I usually give my abandoned books, because I don't think it's a bad book. It's definitely not poorly written, and overall it seems clever with some wonderful satire of New York intelligentsia. But I just didn't care. For the last two years, I've picked it up every few months and read a few chapters, but I always get distracted by something else. So this is me, officially giving up (and damn, why is that so hard? I feel like a failure every time I don't ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novel
athleen Schine writes in so many different voices! This book was harder to get into than the others I've read, but I came to enjoy it. It's a novel about an internalized, intellectualized woman who is so removed from her feelings that she makes many strange choices. An academic writer in the field of literature, she stumbles upon an 18th century "philosphic," erotic book that captures her imagination and starts to influence her life. Very funny in a dry humor kind of way.
The summary on the back of the book sounded right up my alley. A young woman becoming morbidly obsessed with an obscure book? Sign me up. But I quickly grew bored with this. I did, however, enjoy the bits about the insufferable group of people she was forced to be around thanks to her husband. They were straight out of a Dorothy Parker story.
Pamela Murray
This is an oddly written book. It seems to be a combination of a send-up of East Coast intelligentsia, a philosophical treatise/pornographic adaptation, and bildungsroman. The combination is a bit murky. On the other hand, the protagonist is appealing even when she is at her most irritating, and many scenes are laugh out loud funny.
Wendy Tatton
I received this book for free through the Goodreads First Read giveaway.

For me, this book was a hard read. I read it for a few days then put it down and it took 2 weeks for me to go back to it. I did not find myself really caring about any of the characters or what happend to them.
3.5 or 4 for sheer enjoyment. If Norman Rush and Stella Gibbons had a rom-com baby, this would be it.
I don't know how I missed reading Cathleen Schine's earlier novels but they are all brilliant. She has her intellectual tongue in cheek throughout the book and it moves fast and is a great pleasure to read.
I love this author but reading this book made me feel kind of stupid! Might be worth re-reading as I think I was a little on the young end of my literary life when I read it.
The conceit of this novel didn't really work for me; Margaret felt much older than her supposed age of 28 and her forgetfulness seemed pathological rather than charming.
3.5 stars. Although this dragged in places, the second half picked up and I was reminded of academia's Postmodern obsessions during my college days.
Nov 27, 2008 Trina added it
I remember loving this, but for the life of me I can't remember the story. A comedy of New York manners is all I can think of. Schine is funny and smart.
Sep 03, 2007 Kim rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one!
I thought this book was horrible. I had to force myself to finish reading it. (I am stubborn and never give up reading a book, unfortunately!)
Lido em Português.
Título em Portugês: As Desventuras de Margaret
Editorial Presença, Coleção Grandes Narrativas
ISBN: 972-23-2509-4
I remember this fondly, but don't hold it against it if my memory is errant or I had no taste whenever it was I read it.
Adele Goetz
This book had it's witty moments, but the protagonist was so completely annoying that I barely made it to the end.
I thought I would have gotten more out of this if I was familiar with "Diderot's Nephew."
A fun romp through some of the more arcane fields of academia. I loved this book.
Easy, light, made me smile b/c I share some neuroses with the character...
Aug 01, 2011 Linda added it
Good writing, interesting conecpt but characters were disappointng
Witty but forgetable.
It started to get real good in the middle of
the book
Renee marked it as to-read
Dec 16, 2014
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Cathleen Schine is the author of The New Yorkers, The Love Letter, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.
More about Cathleen Schine...
The Three Weissmanns of Westport Fin & Lady: A Novel The New Yorkers The Love Letter The Evolution of Jane

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