Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monkey Love

Question: I've lost track of a title I meant to make special note of. Have any of you heard of the new book coming up in, I think, the early part of next year about a chimpanzee who falls in love with his human trainer? It's fiction (duh). Well, they run off together. So obviously, it's the kind of quirky fantasy type thing that makes me want to take a look. But I can't find my original notation. Help.

Never Mind. Found it. The book's title is: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale - a much anticipated debut. Read about it on Book Page.

This brought to mind a book I originally read about in Nancy Pearl's second terrific book recommendation anthology, More Book Lust. She titles the chapter: Animal Love. That makes me smile. Here are Nancy's thoughts: "Now these are strange and wonderful novels but they're sometimes a hard sell to readers. My advice is, give 'em a try...and see what you think. Personally, I adore them.

One of the funniest and tender novels I've ever read is HIS MONKEY WIFE by John Collier. Collier who wrote many Hollywood screenplays including The African Queen, sets this novel in the 1920's in colonial Africa, where a chimp named Emily (one of the best creations in all fiction, and a real fan of Emily Bronte) falls in love with her owner, Alfred Fatigay, a British schoolteacher."

Well, since Nancy Pearl is my leader in all things literary, I thought: what the heck, I'll take a look since Nancy is so gung-ho about the book and I'm a big fan of quirky. Sure enough, this is one of the more charming, not to mention quirky, books I've ever read.

What happens when the feckless Alfred Fatigay goes home to England to marry his obnoxious, bluestocking fiancee (bringing Emily along as a kind of housekeeper) makes up a good part of this captivating book. I can't stress enough how utterly delightful His Monkey Wife truly is. The ending made me misty as hell.

I consider this book part of my Fairytale sub-genre designation except that there are no crimes (well, maybe a few emotional ones), so I couldn't, technically, include it in my yesterday post.


  1. Old post, but I've been searching for thoughts on this novel - I'm really enjoying it so far! I also think I have to track down Nancy Pearl's book...

  2. Oh, I couldn't do without Nancy Pearl's book recommendation anthologies, Simon. BOOK LUST and MORE BOOK LUST. A definite must, in my book. :)

    Can't wait to see what you make of HIS MONKEY WIFE. I liked it very much.


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