"Stark and compelling . . . Rigorously unsentimental yet suffused with emotion: possibly the best work yet from an always stimulating writer."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A brilliantly crafted novel, brimming with heart."--Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage
"Rich and compelling . . . Her characters are vividly, achingly real, including the tiny, furry one at the novel's center."--Ann Packer, author of The Dive From Clausen's Pier
Duncan Wheeler is a successful architect who savors the quotidian pleasures in life until a car accident leaves him severely paralyzed and haunted by the death of his young assistant. Now, Duncan isn't sure what there is left to live for, when every day has become "a broken series of unsuccessful gestures."
Duncan and his wife, Laura, find themselves in conflict as Duncan's will to live falters. Laura grows desperate to help him. An art conservator who has her own relationship to the repair of broken things, Laura brings home a highly trained helper monkey--a tufted capuchin named Ottoline--to assist Duncan with basic tasks. Duncan and Laura fall for this sweet, comical, Nutella-gobbling little creature, and Duncan's life appears to become more tolerable, fuller, and funnier. Yet the question persists: Is it enough?
Katharine Weber is a masterful observer of humanity, and Still Life with Monkey, full of tenderness and melancholy, explores the conflict between the will to live and the desire to die.
|Publisher:||Dry, Paul Books, Incorporated|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was intrigued by the clever title as it refers to a helper monkey, a tufted capuchin named Ottoline who is trained to help a 37-year-old paraplegic man. Duncan Wheeler is a successful architect who was severely injured in a car accident which killed his young assistant. This isn't my usual reading fare. As I read more of the new lifestyle that architect Duncan Wheeler must adjust to, I kept asking myself if I was enjoying the book and if I was really going to finish it. But, in spite of the very nuts-and-bolts details of living in a wheelchair as a C-6 spinal cord injury victim, I continued to read. Yes, it got intense, but not graphic. What kept me engaged was the excellent writing and the realistic three-dimensional characters. Author Katherine Weber skillfully described not only Duncan's state of mind and his life both before and after the accident, but she explored the thoughts, hopes, and sense of humor of his wife Laura as well as Duncan's twin brother Gordon. These three characters were so honestly and vividly portrayed that at times I had to remind myself it was a novel and not a true story. So what about Ottoline, the adorable little monkey? Every time she is in the story, she steals the limelight. The concept of a helper monkey is fascinating to me, and this little furry girl has such personality! Plus she is adorable, comical, and sweet. This is a thought-provoking novel, and one that I will remember for quite a while. As the book cover notes, "Still Life With Monkey, full of tenderness and melancholy, explores the conflict between the will to live and the desire to die." I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.