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Man or Mango?

(1998)
A novel by

 
Awards
James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction Best Book (nominee)
Eloise is on a fervent retreat from mankind--greedy, cruel, and worthless species that it is. She would, however, very much like a man. "On a scale of human suffering," Lucy Ellmann asserts, her heroine's "celibacy was of little account. But in an ideal world it would be recognized as the tragedy it was. This, in a woman who from the age of five suspected she wanted more sex than she would ever get." Alas, Eloise's temporary crushes on her mover, a gardener (not even her own), and the neighbor's architect have resulted only in disappointment and a criminal waste of lipstick. Her real obsession remains George, an American she had an affair with on a New England holiday six years earlier. But after she returned to England, the relationship eventually fizzled and she is now condemned to a life of misanthropy and felines. She is also on a furious letter-writing and list-making streak. In one lengthy roster she assesses social (i.e., "damaging") encounters according to the recovery time they require. In another, she explains "HOW EVERYTHING WRONG WITH THE WORLD IS MEN'S FAULT," including whistling ("Men are forever announcing their presence with this territorial tunelessness") and male nipples ("Borrowed jewelry for a chest that is too flat. They even stuck nipples on their medieval armour! Ridiculous. Insane.").

Unbeknownst to Eloise, her long-lost lover is actually in England, on a creative-writing sinecure that is only making his own writing--an ill-fated script and an ice-hockey-fixated epic--worse, not to mention turning him Anglophobic. As far as George is concerned, the British are video-crazed, sex-avoiding, and deeply narcissistic. For one thing, "most of Benjamin Britten's (incredible) reputation here's due to his name being BRITTEN." When these star-crossed lovers finally meet again in Connemara--along with a giant-vegetable-growing burglar and letter bomber; a man whose wife drowned while she was rescuing their pet ("It wasn't that their dog wasn't worth saving," he thinks, "a gentle fellow who never barked"); and various other misfits including three old ladies on a shoplifting spree--the results are spectacular. (Think Deep Impact, but on a smaller scale.) As Ellmann's third novel careens from the deadly serious (the Holocaust) to the deeply absurd (mangoes are better than men because they don't "lord it over everybody at committee meetings"), it may well exasperate some readers. Others, however, will be charmed by this fruitful, extreme concoction. --Kerry Fried

 
Used availability for Lucy Ellmann's Man or Mango?


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

April 1998 : USA Hardback
Title: Man or Mango? : A Lament
Author(s): Lucy Ellmann
ISBN: 0-374-20228-1 / 978-0-374-20228-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T)
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

March 1998 : UK Hardback
Title: Man or Mango?
Author(s): Lucy Ellmann
ISBN: 0-7472-2114-6 / 978-0-7472-2114-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline Review
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

Paperback Editions

February 2014 : UK Paperback
Title: Man or Mango?
Author(s): Lucy Ellmann
ISBN: 1-4088-4655-1 / 978-1-4088-4655-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

July 1999 : USA Paperback
Title: Man or Mango?
Author(s): Lucy Ellmann
ISBN: 0-312-20967-3 / 978-0-312-20967-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Picador USA
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

February 1999 : UK Paperback
Title: Man or Mango?: A Lament
Author(s): Lucy Ellmann
ISBN: 0-7472-5905-4 / 978-0-7472-5905-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline Review
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

March 1998 : UK Paperback
Title: Man or Mango?
Author(s): Lucy Ellmann
ISBN: 0-7472-7507-6 / 978-0-7472-7507-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline Review
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

July 2013 : Canada, UK Kindle edition
Title: Man or Mango?
Author(s): Lucy Ellmann
Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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