MATING IN CAPTIVITY:
a cult memoir
for smart people

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About the Author

Helen Zuman is a tree-hugging dirt worshipper devoted to turning waste into food and the stinky guck of experience into fertile, fragrant prose. She holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and a Half-FA in memoir from Hunter College. Raised in Brooklyn, she lives with her husband in Beacon, NY and Black Mountain, NC.

Mating in Captivity: A Memoir

A Harvard grad seeks a mate in a cult that forbids monogamy. To pursue love on her own terms, she must brave exile and learn self-trust. When recent Harvard grad Helen Zuman moved to Zendik Farm in 1999, she was thrilled to discover that the Zendiks used go-betweens to arrange sexual assignations, or “dates,” in […]

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How the Medicine Wheel Kitchen Restored My Faith in Community

by helenzuman in General

More than four years ago, when I first stepped into the Medicine Wheel kitchen, at Earthaven Ecovillage (in Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA), I was not feeling bullish about community. I’d tried that, right? At Zendik. (Yes, Zendik was a cult—but I’d found it in The Communities Directory!) And it hadn’t gone so well. No, I […]

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A Message for the Harvard Class of 2020

by helenzuman in General

More than twenty years ago, as I was nearing graduation, I instigated a protest against Harvard’s commencement speaker, then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Not because I vehemently opposed his politics, or anything specific he’d done, but because he was a banker. Who I expected would bore the hell out of me with some sold-out […]

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On Villaging: World Made by Hand

by helenzuman in General

In James Howard Kunstler’s 2008 novel, World Made by Hand, the people of the Hudson Valley are struggling: vast numbers have died of influenza; others have succumbed to encephalitis; still others have left Union Grove (a fictitious town in Kunstler’s own Washington County) in search of something better, and—in the absence of telephone, postal, or […]

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