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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,260 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews

Minot’s bestselling debut: A moving novel of familial love and endurance in the face of shattering tragedy 

Monkeys is the remarkable story of a decade in the life of the Vincents, a colorful Irish Catholic family from the Boston suburbs. On the surface, they seem happy with their vivacious mother Rosie at the helm. But underneath, the Vincents struggle to maintain the app
ebook, 159 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Open Road Media (first published May 14th 1986)
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Era il 1986 quando questa americana di trent’anni, che sembrava anche più giovane, con gli occhi azzurri, bionda, bella, esplose nel firmamento letterario di casa sua, e anche di casa nostra.

Una breve raccolta di racconti, al centro una famiglia con sette figli: noi la catalogammo subito come minimalista, che qui da noi era un termine di gran voga, i suoi connazionali scomodarono addirittura Salinger, Hemingway, la Woolf, Faulkner.

Il film di Bertolucci, con un cast notevole, fu una delusi
A quick, brutally sad little story. Susan Minot offers up a thinly-veiled autobiography of growing up in a large Northeastern household. It's a collection of interwoven short stories as much as a novel, and fans of minimalist language will find a lot to love. Each chapter builds up a sense of trust and family connectedness only to undermine it through alcoholism, death, or simple lack of communication. It's a deeply sad story at it's core, and not really my sort of writing. But it's often rather ...more
This book is often lauded for its sparse and lyrical prose, I felt it was simply lacking in depth.
While reading about this large catholic family as they grew up, I never once felt any connection to the characters nor did I feel I got to know any of them enough to care much.
I did feel that the dialogue was excellent and the snippets of life were well-written, but the format of reading of short little events kept me at a distance. Reading, for example, of a dinner party in one chapter and then a f
Marissa Ovick
A book I reread once a year. Some excerpts from other reviews:

"Not since J. D. Salinger has an American writer so feelingly evoked the special affections and loyalties that may develop among children in a large family."--The New York Times Book Review

"Striking and original.... Minot chronicles the mundane and miraculous moments that characterize family life, in prose that is exactingly realistic, yet delicately lyrical.... Few novels have so powerfully displayed the collective unity--and joy--of
Robert Isenberg
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OBVIOUSLY this was a must-read in my high-school, because it fit all my teachers' perameters for a bona fide "good book":

(1) The father is an alcoholic.

(2) The mother is neurotic and suicidally depressed.

(3) The children blame themselves.

(4) Principal characters die at the end, just when they could be redeemed.

Then we watched "The Great Santini," which is also about a dysfunctional nuclear family, but the movie's even BETTER, because a nice young man is shot and killed in his trailer and his rac
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The most interesting thing for me about Monkeys is that the length of the reviews on this site is directly proportional to the number of stars the reviewer gave. The 4 and 5 star reviewers have written long paragraphs in support of their rating, the 3 star reviewers have a few sentences, and those who gave two stars mostly did not write anything. My conclusion is that this was one of those books that either resonated with you, that you connected with, and so was memorable and comment-worthy. Or, ...more
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susann by: Sarah
Shelves: re-read
Thought this might be a contender to be weeded from my shelves, but now I think it's going to stay. I like that it walks the line between being a novel and being a collection of short stories. From the first page, you know that Minot gets childhood. As she describes the family bustling to get out the door to church:
"Sherman ripples by, coat flapping, and Mum grabs him by the hood, reeling him in, and zips him up with a pinch at his chin."

With each reading, I like to play 'Which Child Is The Most
RH Walters
Alcohol, drugs and religion allow this family to navigate their privileged life with what comes across as indifference, but the undercurrent of pain and alienation cuts with sudden force. The prose is immaculate, but the book has no transformation except for the inevitable tragedies of growing up and dying.
Aileen M
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading about how the kids grow up together and bond as siblings was divine. It reminded me of certain aspects of my family (though my family is much smaller).
Sasha Possemato
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A haunting story about a big family and loss.
Jan 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Unlike the works we’ve read, Susan Minot’s Monkeys focuses on a single family instead of a town or a street. Told in chronological order, the stories span thirteen years, from 1966 to 1979, and we see the same cast of characters throughout, which is exactly what’s unifying the collection. After examining the interesting point of view Minot uses in this work, I’ll try to answer if this is a novel or a short story cycle.

The book’s point of view, though it changes from story to story, remains ancho
Feb 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was seriously disappointed in this short novel written by Susan Minot, the author of the powerful and visceral "Evening" which was made into a great movie. It is about a New England family with 7 children, and follows their lives for about 20 years. How it won a French book award, I do not understand. To me it lacked any emotion or color. While it details the landscape and the mundane daily routine, there is a complete lack of depth in character development. The book reads more like an outline ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of vignettes about a New England family. The author captures the details of daily life beautifully.
I read all the reviews and I don't get it.

I had to fill up the blank spaces with my imagination.

I. Just. Don't. Get. It.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I felt like I was reading a friend's account of her family- which left out the behind the scenes feelings and stories.... a nice book.
Betsy VanSweden
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel Monkeys by Susan Minot provides wonderfully minimalistic prose that allows the reader to relate certain choppy situations to their own family life both throughout childhood and as adults. The style of the novel tends to jump from scene to scene which I found productive in this novel, though it has not been in others, because by the time the reader finishes the novel they are left with almost a collage of incidents which are very easily relatable and thus one feels as though this family ...more
Natasha Martinez
There is nothing stronger than the bond between family.

Monkeys by Susan Minot. Vintage Books, New York, 1986.

In Monkeys, Susan Minot explores with startling honesty the tragedies and blessing that can affect a single family. Although their shortcomings and faults could classify them as any other fictional family, what makes this particular family so well rounded and fascinating is the powerful sense of love and loyalty that keeps them tied to one another.
Meet the Paines - a family that takes “
Kelsey Fitzpatrick
Monkeys by Susan Minot, Vintage books 1986, New York

Susan Minot’s, "Monkeys" combines the struggles and triumphs of growing up with a large family, along with the incessant suffering of loosing a loved one.

I am embarrassed to confess that I had not heard of Susan Minot until reading “Lust” in our writing course textbook. However, I am ecstatic that her captivating short stories lead me to take interest in her first novel, "Monkeys". After doing some research, I found that in 1987 "Monkeys" won
Nicholas Lizardi
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
7 Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed

“’You can get a new wife,’ Gus said...’You can’t get another mother.’” The book Monkeys was written by Susan Minot and copyrighted in 1986. The book is about an English family of four girls, three boys, and their two parents: Caitlin, Sophie, Delilah, Gus, Sherman, Chicky, Minnie, Dad and Mum. Minot begins the first chapter in first person point as told by Sophie, the second youngest, then transitions into a narrator. The story explains the life of the Vincen
Christina Campbell
Dysfunctional Monkeys
Susan Minot Monkeys 1986

Susan Minot’s Monkeys set in the late 1960’s throughout the 1970’s Boston; the Vincent family lived there in a world separate from their own. It is the original depiction of family struggles, trials, love and loss. Starting with the first chapter, each chapter is separated into different interconnected aspects of the Vincent family life. Minot takes her readers on a journey of the Vincent family, a rather large family with seven kids and many obstac
Sarah Schulz
Monkeys – Susan Minot, Vintage books 1986, New York

“Monkeys”, but Susan Minot, is a novel that consists of a thriving Irish-Catholic family living in Massachusetts during the 1960s and 1970s. The novel indicates the hardships of growing up with a large family, as well as highlighting the jubilation of an admiral family unit working together cohesively to overcome the pains of maturation as well as the loss of a loved one.

The first chapter of Monkeys, “Hiding”, begins with the Mum (Rose Vincent)
Chris Blocker
There are writers who make mistakes. If their words were a house, some measurements might be askew, some paint could be found on the carpet, perhaps a door doesn't open just right. It's bound to happen, and readers should be forgiving of those writers who blunder occasionally.

There are also writers who make mistakes. Big ones. They pour the foundation for their house without noticing their own feet are right in the middle of it. They bury themselves in their stupidity, and one can't help but scr
I hate books that are blurbed with a comparison to Catcher in the Rye. Just hate it. The reality is, these are never really like Catcher, it's the reviewer/publisher trying to cash in on the universality of Salinger's book (and by "universality" I mean that it seem that 99% of all Americans have had to read/analyze the text).

On to Monkeys... it's more like Lark Rise to Candleford than Catcher: small slices of life with almost nothing happening so you have to create the plot in your own mind. It'
Jun 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
I'm not sure what to think of this, it WAS a fast read, thank goodness for that after trudging through Pillars of the Earth. I needed that! I wish I would have remembered before I started that this is not necessarily a novel, but a "work of literature" of short stories spanning a family's life through the years. Susan Minot's writing in this book has you needing to read between the lines to get the full story. I much prefer an author that tells me as it is, and tells me beautifully. I do think t ...more
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally read this book many years ago and was blown away by the subtle story telling. How can an author tell a story that leaves the reader to fill in the gaps? And how can that story seem so rich in spite of the sparse prose? Also, how close can an author get to autobiography and still call it fiction? This read was less "monumental" for me but no less satisfying. The family in Monkeys is fascinating in the ways that they are and are not like other family groupings. The seven children are ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Monkeys, a short book by Susan Minot - and also her first, which I didn't know - in one afternoon/evening. I loved it.
A review described her writing as 'minimalist.' I remember reading her gorgeous and somewhat mysterious book, Evening very, very carefully, working to pick out the truth beneath the hints. In that book, the subtext was rendered even more obscure because the narrator was a dying woman fading in and out of a morphine haze.
Really, this woman can WRITE!
Monkeys is a thinly dis
Eva Silverfine
Minot’s sparse style communicates an attention to detail that makes very present the experiences of the family of which she writes. There is often no explanation of the whys of these experiences, or the explanations are based on unspoken truths or myths. For the earlier years of her stories (and each chapter appears to be written as such) this uncertainty, or lack of clarity, well reflects the childhood experience. In later chapter, though, I found myself thinking some of the details were autobi ...more
Kim Sanders
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
fine anni '80, ricordo di averli letti tutti, o quasi: jay mcinerney, bret easton ellis, susan minot e in una seconda fase anche david leavitt hanno scandito insieme a herman hesse (che compagnia variegata!) la fine della mia adolescenza ed il mio ingresso nell'et�� adulta (o quasi...).
all'epoca mi piacevano, qualcosa di pi��, qualcosa di meno.
mi piacevano quelle storie scarne, prive di morale e di salvezza, un po' meno alcune esasperazioni violente alla easton ellis.
adesso non so, forse dovrei
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spare elegant portrayal of childhood and family. Reminiscent of Tillie Olsen in how she evokes time and place as well as how there is not one word out of place. Some people describe this as a book about a severely dysfunctional family--I thought it was primarily about family. I could relate to it (in a way that I could not relate to Glass Castle or Bastard Out of Carolina) although my own family was very different than any of those. I cannot believe that this book had escaped my notice before it ...more
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Susan Minot is an award-winning novelist and short story writer whose books include Monkeys, Folly, Lust & Other Stories, and Evening, which was adapted into the feature film of the same name starring Meryl Streep. Minot was born in Boston and raised in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, attended Brown University, and received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She curren ...more
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