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Moo by Jane Smiley

Moo (1995)

by Jane Smiley

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I had read other novels by Smiley and thought, given the (again) political anti-university stance taken by WI governor, that it would be interesting to read this tale now. I understand that in a spoof of reality you want your characters to be characterizations and stereotypes, but I still do not enjoy reading novels with such superficial characters. ( )
  juniperSun | Jul 11, 2015 |
Well, I had to try it, considering I attended a college with an Ag emphasis in the Midwest. But now I'm working with my son's high school staff to improve the school for accreditation, and I don't want to think about grown-ups in an educational institution behaving badly.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
One of my top five favorite books--definitely my favorite of Jane Smiley. Hilarious probably because it's such an accurate account of our society. ( )
  ShelBeck | Mar 11, 2015 |
it felt like it desperately wanted to be A Confederacy of Dunces and hilarious (especially to academic types like myself) but just couldn't bring itself to be so. new character introductions never seemed to stop but that didn't stop me from stopping reading this book. it should have been titled Meh. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
Moo U. is a land-grant university in one of the mid-Western states. The author presents us with a huge cast of characters: students, academics and bureaucrats. In this farcical send up of academia- albeit agricultural academia rather than the ivory tower sort- everyone is avid for something, be it sex, tenure, grades, money, power, food, or a way out of the life they have. The living metaphor of this greed sits at the very center of the campus, physically and symbolically: a huge hog named Earl Butz (this is set in the Reagan era, btw). He is an experiment, the focus of a study to see how large a pig can get if his needs are constantly met. His sole job is to eat, and he does it well. His existence is a secret from all but a few; no one suspects that inside the concrete walls of an old, unused building is an avid consumer, any more than the longings of the people are visible to their peers.

Smiley takes on racism, sexism, and classism as well as the academic life. This is a gentle satire. Pretty much all of her myriad characters are treated as flawed humans rather than evil doers or other caricatures. It’s like these people are friends and family of the author and she looks on them with smiling indulgence. While not uproarious as the blurb on the cover said, it was amusing and engaging. ( )
  dark_phoenix54 | Feb 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Jane Smiley's new novel is a sprawling and hilarious spoof of contemporary life set in a fictional Midwestern university, whose initials provide its nickname, MOO.

Sometimes "Moo" relies on university in-jokes, but mostly Smiley is dealing with human nature. After laughing at each character and enjoying the twists and turns of the plot, readers may also find themselves reflected in this large and forgiving mirror of modern life.
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For Phoebe, Lucy, and Axel James, with love
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From the outside it was clear that the building known generally as "Old Meats" had eased under the hegemony of the horticulture department.
Men are competent in groups that mimic the playground, incompetent in groups that mimic the family.
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Book description
Moo is a 1995 novel by Jane Smiley. It is set in the American Midwest on the fictional campus of Moo University during the 1989-1990 academic year. The novel is a comedy that uses a sprawling narrative style, encompassing the lives of dozens of characters.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679420231, Hardcover)

The hallowed halls of Moo University, a midwestern agricultural institution (aka "cow college"), are rife with devious plots, mischievous intrigue, lusty liaisons, and academic one-upsmanship. In this wonderfully written and masterfully plotted novel, Jane Smiley, the prizewinning author of A Thousand Acres, offers a wickedly funny, darkly poignant comedy. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:16 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A satire on university life, describing the rackets and the intellectual dishonesty that goes on. The setting is the U of Moo where research into the destruction of rain forests is tailored to suit the corporation funding the project. By the author of A Thousand Acres.… (more)

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