A Beautiful Truth

Colin McAdam. Soho, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61695-315-7
McAdam (Fall) investigates the social dynamics of great apes within the cages of a Florida research institute. Researcher David Kennedy watches over a troupe of chimpanzees, monitoring their interactions, administering social and cognitive tests in order “to defy Noam Chomsky’s assertion that humans were unique for being born with language.” Weighty themes underlie McAdam’s spartan prose depicting the inner lives of research chimps. Craftily blurring species lines, McAdam doesn’t limit himself to the chimp colony; alongside scenes at the Girdish Institute runs the story of Vermont couple Walt and Judy Ribke and their adopted chimp, Looee. In the aftermath of uterine surgery, Judy is momentarily buoyed by the arrival of Looee, purchased through a circus handler by Walt to ease his wife’s disappointment. As Looee ages, McAdam uses his developmental stages to contrast chimps and humans. With his “mind of a four-year-old boy [and] the coordination and strength of an eighteen-year-old,” Looee begins to pose serious problems for the Ribkes, even after construction of a stand-alone house. Inevitably, Looee is sent away to the Girdish Institute and encounters “dogpeople”—his word for other chimps—for the first time, bringing the novel’s two storylines together. Brimming with ambition, McAdam delivers a thought-provoking foray into the not-so-dissimilar minds of our ape relatives. Agent: Doug Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 09/17/2013
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-670-06636-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-2536-4
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-1-84708-895-6
Paperback - 978-1-61695-378-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-2534-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4829-2535-7
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-84708-847-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-14-318222-1
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