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Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Brian Hurley and this Monkey

February 9, 2011

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore
Brian says it’s good
Status: Reserved

NOT LONG AGO I received in the mail a package from my friend Brian Hurley, also known as the Fiction Advocate, containing a copy of the newly released and highly acclaimed “The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore.”

The New York Times calls it “an absolute pleasure.” I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but Brian had some nice thoughts that he shared over at Hipster Book Club:

First-time novelist Benjamin Hale has Talent with a capital T. And he’s written a book worth such an officious, capital B that readers might sometimes wonder if there’s anything good on TV instead.

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is the fictional autobiography of a chimpanzee who learns to speak like a human and wants to “evolve” into a man. Bruno (a name given to him in the lab—Behavioral Rearing into Ultroneous Noumenal Ontogenesis) is a classic outsider looking in, striving to belong in society. For him, “society” is the entire human species. Bruno’s mythic act of self-creation—he molds a new consciousness from the clay of human language—raises big Questions, capital Q, for Hale to consider. What is language? What makes us human? The main conceit is not that a chimp could learn to speak but that a speaking chimp would pour forth, fluently, in the all-too-familiar style of a middlebrow literary novel, like the hairy love child of John Irving and Sara Gruen.

Read the full review.

Read more from Brian at Fiction Advocate.

Do you want to trade paperbacks?

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