My Ishmael

Daniel Quinn, Author Bantam Books $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-553-10636-7
In 1989, Ted Turner offered a $500,000 fellowship for a work of fiction that offered positive solutions to global problems. Out of 2500 entries worldwide, Quinn's quirky first novel, Ishmael, won the prize (which after some controversy, was never awarded again). The book featured a wise, telepathic gorilla who engaged in Socratic dialogue with a young man, teaching him how he could help save the world from its self-destructive path. In this predictable sequel, disenchanted 12-year-old Julie Gerchak responds to a classified ad: ""Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world."" So begins a 300-page lecture by a silverback gorilla who expounds his theories on the suicidal plunge of contemporary culture (the Takers) and his belief that learning from tribal cultures (the Leavers) is our only path to survival. The simian scholar tries to distill thousands of years of human wisdom and experience into a few simplistic preachments and parables. Despite the author's claim that Julie represents a new challenge to Ishmael, the little girl is no Phaedrus, and in any case the gorilla hardly seems to need an interlocutor. His reflections are a novel like a two-by-four is a pine tree. Fans will buy; others may content themselves with the Web site. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 173 pages - 978-0-307-56984-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-553-37965-5
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