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Hunters and Gatherers

About the Book

Hunters and Gatherers

Martha, a thirty-year-old fact checker at a Manhattan fashion magazine, is recovering from the break-up of the latest in her long string of unhappy love affairs. She spends a weekend on Fire Island, where she comes across a group of women on the beach performing rites in honor of the ancient matriarchal Goddess. The lonely, depressed Martha finds herself flattered by their friendliness and willingness to include her, and soon becomes part of the inner circle, though on another level she sees "her association with the Goddess group for the walking nervous breakdown it was" (p.103).

Eventually Martha and the motley collection of priestesses head off to study with a Native American shaman in the wilds of Arizona. They experience a medicine walk, a fast, ritual drumming, and they shriek the night away in a sweat-lodge rite. All, needless to say, does not go as serenely as planned. The women turn out to be every bit as competitive, jealous, imperfect, and human as men. Nevertheless, Prose makes us like the priestesses, and ultimately affirms their search, however blind and directionless, for the transcendent.

Hunters and Gatherers
by Francine Prose

  • Publication Date: January 15, 1997
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0805048960
  • ISBN-13: 9780805048964