The Woman and the Apeby Peter Hoeg, Barbara Haveland (Translator)
General Fiction Large Print Edition Hoeg is an adventurous and intelligent writer whose future course seems happily, impossible to predict . . . one of the essential contemporary novelists. starred, Kirkus Reviews No imaginative writer today is more daring than Danish novelist Peter Hoeg. starred, Booklist * A Literary Guild Main Selection An hour after nightfall the ape rose, wrapped an arm around Madelene, parted the screen of leaves at a shadowed spot, and leaped, almost horizontally, into what seemed to Madelene to be a pitch-black void. Madelene Burden is a Danish beauty who lives in an alcoholic haze while her husband, Adam, a behavioral scientist, dreams of restoring the London Zoo to its original glory. He s about to get his chance with Erasmus, a 300-pound gorilla unlike any other. But a spark ignites between Madelene and Erasmus and begins a love affair as emotionally and erotically charged as any male-female relationship can be and a revelation that stuns the world.
The story begins in London when a "dwarf chimpanzee" escapes from animal smugglers and is immediately captured and targeted for exhaustive experimentation by a research institute affiliated with the city's zoo. Behavioral scientist Adam Burden and his steely sister Andrea, who works for an Animal Welfare Foundation, see in their astonishing find ("a new and hitherto unknown mammal, an apparently highly intelligent anthropoid ape") a career-making opportunity. But their plans are thwarted when Adam's Danish-born wife Madelene, a lissome alcoholic, discovers in the ape (named "Erasmus") a fellow sufferer whose captivity echoes her own (as a tamed, well-behaved helpmate and showpiece), and also a potential soulmate. Forswearing drink, Madelene craftily subverts her husband's careerist politicking, andaided by the smuggler's cheerfully criminal driverruns off with Erasmus. The novel really picks up seriocomic steam as Madelene and Erasmus learn to communicate (he can talk, and is a quick learner), make love in the treetops, and enjoy a mock-Edenic "idyll" unobserved in a junglelike wildlife preserve. Everything climaxes during Adam's acceptance speech as he's being installed as the London Zoo's new directorwith dramatic proof that Erasmus isn't the only creature of his kind. It's a romp, in more senses than one, and Heg manages, against odds, to shape both the story's discursiveness and its ingenious plot toward a smashing and emotionally satisfying conclusion.
Heg is an adventurous and intelligent writer whose future course seems, happily, impossible to predict. He has made himself, in a few short years, one of the essential contemporary novelists.
“The Woman and the Ape has many arrestingly stylish and inventive passages and an overall brilliance of tone that shows once again the originality of Mr. Høeg's voice.” The New York Times
“A witty, compelling thriller that touches a primal nerve that has lain dormant since King Kong fell hard for Fay Wray.” Francine Prose, People
“This decade's most offbeat love story . . . Funny, often touching, and definitely inventive.” David Walton, St. Petersburg Times
“The Woman and the Ape is great fun to read. . . . Peter Høeg has written an intelligent novel of ideas and slyly disguised it as a lighthearted comedy. . . . He's figured out how to blend his various styles into a distinctive voice that's satiric, deadpan funny, at once warm and cool.” Brigitte Frase, Newsday
“No imaginative writer working today is any more daring than Danish novelist Peter Høeg, any more willing to shock readers with something that is genuinely new. . . . He does it again with this utterly original mix of fantasy, fable, myth, and love story.” Bill Ott, Booklist (starred review)
“This should confirm Peter Høeg's place as one of the most creative and interesting authors today.” Elizabeth D. Dickie, Richmond Times-Dispatch
“One of the most griping books I've read in years. It moved me so deeply that by the end I found myself weeping.” Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Village Voice Literary Supplement
“An engrossing fable.” Deloris Ament, The Seattle Times
Meet the Author
Peter Høeg, born in 1957 in Denmark, followed various callings--dancer, actor, sailor, fencer, and mountaineer--before turning seriously to writing. He is the bestselling author of five novels and one short story collection. His work has been published in thirty-three countries.
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