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Great Apes
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1001 book reviews > Great Apes by Will Self

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Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 1 Star

I absolutely hated this book. I would have DNFd it if it had not been on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. I found the writing much too complicated, it felt both messy and over-written. On top of that I felt the story was a joke or a gimmick, and didn't find it at all funny. I know it is satire and fans of this type of story absolutely love this book. I am just not among them. I didn't have any emotional connection to the book. I didn't learn anything. And, I wasn't entertained.


Patrick Robitaille | 1005 comments *** 1/2

Imagine you wake up next to your girlfriend after a wild gallivanting night and you realise that she has become a chimpanzee. That is the premise of this extended and disturbing thought experiment from Will Self: how would it be if chimpanzees had evolved in the same way as humans did while humans remained in the wild? In his novel, Self meticulously replicated the observed behaviours of the primates in the framework of our human lives. True, it leads to an abundance of mating scenes (some almost gratuitous) and other behaviours which humans would find repulsive (for example, Dr. Grebe's nectar of choice). There are a lot of quirky moments, such as the efforts of transformation the human side of our vocabulary into a chimpanzee lexicon (e.g. manhandle -> chimpandle; handle -> feetle; to say -> to sign) but it goes a little bit downhill from page 300 onwards and the ending was a bit disappointing. Nevertheless, this was an interesting satire about the animality of humans or, as Dr Zack Busner remarks about the sexual habits of humans, "but it looks to me as much the same as what chimpanzees get up to 'huuu'". A bit difficult to read (it reminded me of J.G. Ballard at times) and probably not everybody's cup of tea.


Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 2 stars


Sooooo not my thing. To disturbing and scatological. I can see how this might possibly be enjoyable for the right audience. I am clearly not that audience. This was painful to get through. I might like the author's writing, however, if he was writing about a completely different subject matter.


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