cover image Captivity


Debbie Lee Wesselmann, . . John F. Blair, $22.95 (295pp) ISBN 978-0-89587-353-8

A South Carolina chimpanzee sanctuary affiliated with a university provides the unusual setting for Wesselmann’s powerful second novel (after 1997’s Trutor & the Balloonist ). Dana Armstrong, a primatologist, acquired her understanding of chimpanzees at great personal cost, having been raised along with her younger brother, Zack, with a female chimp as a sibling (they communicated using sign language) until a tragic event ended the experiment. Now she must deal with an even more traumatic event. One day Dana arrives at the sanctuary, where she’s the director, to discover that someone has damaged buildings and released chimpanzees unadapted to the wild. As Dana battles to save the sanctuary, personal and professional jealousies, campus politics, the fate of the chimpanzees and the stirring stories of Dana and her family play out in unforgettable fashion. With empathetic insight, the author precisely observes both human and animal behavior. (Feb.)