Renee's problem, according to her best friend, is that she thinks "the male sexual organ is the brain." Dissatisfied with her marriage to a mathematical genius, Renee Feuer struggles to reconcile her intellectual and physical desires in a startlingly sexy and mordantly funny tale about the life of the mind.
This first novel by MacArthur "Genius" Fellow Rebecca Goldstein is a wonderful and rare thing—a novel of ideas that also happens to be hilarious, a story of sex and desire where Spinoza, Plato, and Einstein feel as alive on the page as Renee's many lovers. Renee's situation will be familiar to anyone who's grasped at something higher but felt pulled back toward the familiar, but rarely has the dilemma been made so accessible, so frankly funny, or so sexy.
The book was a sensation when it first appeared, earning a spot on The New York Times bestseller list and a cult following that lasts to this day. And it's easy to see why: it's a pleasure to inhabit Renee's mind while she investigates the world around her. Her psychological acuity, frankness, and erudition are irresistible—from the way she skewers the pettiness of Princeton's academic elite to her account of growing up a repressed intellectual in an Orthodox Jewish community. And her brutally honest examination of women's sexuality and the struggle to matter are as powerful and true today as they were 30 years ago.
PRAISE FOR THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM
“A terrific novel ... The first 50 pages or so are so clever and funny that I had to put the book down and go to the fridge to cool off.”—New York Times Book Review
“Goldstein is intelligent and perceptive, bawdy and witty—an articulate writer of great talent. Will keep you turning pages to find out how it all turns out.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A confectionery 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
“A considerable performance: witty, compassionate, and full of fascinating divagations.”— The London Observer
“Goldstein’s ability to translate complex philosophical or mathematical problems to such basics as friendship and sexual desire leaves the reader giddy with inspiration." —Kansas City Star
"Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is funny. Yes, she is exceedingly smart. Yes, she is inquisitive and daring. Yes, she is well-educated and thoughtful to a degree that few novelists share. . . .There are many reasons that this reprint of The Mind Body Problem is a gift, to be opened with pleasure and gratitude, but of all of them, this is the one that I appreciate most." —Jane Smiley, from the foreword to the digital edition
ABOUT REBECCA GOLDSTEIN
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is the author of ten books of both fiction and philosophy. Her novels include The Mind-Body Problem, Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal and Quantum Physics, and 36 Arguments for The Existence of God: A Work of Fiction. She is also the author of Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel, named by Discover Magazine one of the best science books of 2005, and the award-winning Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity. Her latest book is Plato at The Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away.
The recipient of numerous awards for both her fiction and scholarship, including Guggenheim and Radcliffe fellowships, in 1996 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the “genius” prize. She has also been named the Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association, and Free-thought Heroine by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is visiting Professor of Philosophy at New College of the Humanities in London.