The Mind-Body Problem


Goldstein R. The Mind-Body Problem. Random House; 1983.
The Mind-Body Problem


Dell, 1984; reissued by Penguin, 1994.

Translated into German.

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From the jacket:

“I’m often asked what it’s like to be married to a genius.” So begins The Mind-Body Problem, a trenchant, funny, very wise novel about life and love in academia—and the conflicting demands of sensuality and spirit in the lives of all of us—that adds up to one of the most delicious and though-provoking new reading experiences in a long time.

When Renee Feuer goes to college, one of the first lessons she tries to learn is how to liberate herself from the restrictions of her orthodox Jewish background. As she discovers the pleasures of the body, Renee also learns about the excitements of the mind. She enrolls as a philosophy graduate student, then marries Noam Himmel, the world-renowned mathematician. But Renee discovers that being married to a genius is a less elevating experience than expected. The story of her quest for a solution to the mind-body problem, a quest that involves the prickly contemporary dilemmas of sex and love, of doubt and belief, is a hilarious, touching, and always engrossing adventure. Rebecca Goldstein has written a delightfully entertaining and resonant book—a prodigious debut by an original and exciting writer.

  • 100 Great 20th Century Works of Fiction by Women, Feminista: The Journal of Feminist Construction, 2000
  • New York Times bestseller

“[The Mind-Body Problem is] an absorbing and entertaining novel, penetrating and poignant.”
The New York Times

“A clever, very funny novel... Beneath the elegant intellectual play on the surface of her novel, Goldstein is up to something serious here.”

“Goldstein is intelligent and perceptive, bawdy and witty—an articulate writer of great talent.”
Los Angeles Times

“A considerable performance: witty, compassionate, and full of fascinating divagations.”
The London Observer

“A confectionary of delight, laced with equal parts of wit, humor, and philosophical argument. Goldstein succeeds brilliantly in smuggling into her novel short courses on everything from the history of mathematics to the trouble with Talmudic logic.”
MS Magazine

“One of the most intelligent and funny pieces of fiction to surface this year. Goldstein’s ability to translate complex philosophical or mathematical problems to such basics as friendship and sexual desire leaves the reader giddy with inspiration.... One of the most original laugh riots to successfully disguise itself as literature.”
Kansas City Star

Last updated on 12/04/2012