Hal Markowitz, January 21, 2012 (view all comments by Hal Markowitz)
I am a 77 year old prof emeritus who reads an average of 4 books a month and this is one of the finest books that I have ever read. It sparkles from every standpoint: as a comment on the human condition and our relationship with non-human animals with which we share the planet; a captivating science fiction work/romance; a carefully researched set of premises.
gaby317, March 1, 2011 (view all comments by gaby317)
The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is deeply absorbing. When I first began reading, it was easy to suspend disbelief. Implausible though the story might be, I couldn't help but believe that Bruno Littlemore was real and that these events were true.
Once you're willing to take that journey with Bruno, his evolution from the animal living in the Lincoln Park Zoo to the educated and convincingly human individual will prove haunting. Benjamin Hale has created an engaging and unforgettable character - his transgressions and failures make him even more disturbingly human. For readers who love animals and are looking for something unusual - and are willing to be discomfited - I recommend The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore.
ISBN-10: 0446571571 - Hardcover $25.99
Publisher: Twelve (February 2, 2011), 592 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"An enlightened chimp goes on the wildest adventure since Every Which Way but Loose in Hale's mischievous debut. Bruno Littlemore, the narrator chimp, eventually lands in a research lab at the University of Chicago, where he falls in love with Dr. Lydia Littlemore, who, shortly after hearing Bruno speak his name, takes him first to her apartment (sex is had, much later) and later to the quietude of a Colorado ranch owned by a couple of odd animal rights advocates. It is in this environment that Bruno becomes a fully articulate and artistic being, but the idyll does not last: Lydia falls ill, and Bruno is captured, escapes, ends up in New York City, and befriends a dreamer named Leon with whom he mounts a performance of The Tempest before being forced by circumstance to return, tragically, to Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. Bruno, having mastered speech, is quite happy to play with this new toy, going on philosophical riffs and speaking at length about art, and while his monologues are less tedious than you'd imagine, it's his quest for answers about the agonizing dilemmas of existence that is unexpectedly resonant. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Bruno Littlemore is quite unlike any chimpanzee in the world. Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in a habitat at the local zoo, falls under the care of a university primatologist named Lydia Littlemore. Learning of Bruno's ability to speak, Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges. His untimely outbursts ultimately cost Lydia her job, and send the unlikely pair on the road in what proves to be one of the most unforgettable journeys — and most affecting love stories — in recent literature. Like its protagonist, this novel is big, loud, abrasive, witty, perverse, earnest and amazingly accomplished. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore goes beyond satire by showing us not what it means, but what it feels like be human — to love and lose, learn, aspire, grasp, and, in the end, to fail.
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