Maryan Heffernan's Reviews > Ape House

Ape House by Sara Gruen
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Apr 10, 11


Gruen focuses on communication between apes and humans in "Ape House". There is an eclectic cast of characters including bonobos who you will love and others who will appal however her wit makes this a compelling satire.

Isabel Duncan is a linguistic scientist working with bonobos using American Sign Language, apparently simultaneously with spoken English, which maybe a teensy bit of a linguistic stretch, in an extraordinary relationship with these intelligent apes,

John Thigpen, struggling to find respectable journalistic work, becomes totally engaged after an interview with Isabel and the bonobos at the lab. When the lab is bombed with Isabel badly injured and the bonobos smuggled away to appear on a reality TV program the action speeds up.
Gruen creates empathy and intrigue for the apes and exposes the venality of human nature from unethical animal experimentation to the exploitation of our close relatives.

However I cannot believe this is the same author of Water for Elephants a very second rate follow up.
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