Thursday, 7 April 2011

Armchair Novel Review - Ape House

Ape House
by Sara Gruen
Paperback, 336 pages
Also available as an unabridged audio CD, unabridged audiobook download, eBook, 
hardcover and in large print trade paperback.

Ape House is a novel by best-selling author Sara Gruen, known for her immensely popular Water for Elephants. The first draft of Water for Elephants was actually written as a NaNoWriMo book, which is incredibly inspiring. Sara has a passion for animals and a wry look at humanity, resulting in fascinating and engrossing works of fiction.

In the novel Ape House, we are introduced to the world of bonobos, a type of great ape similar to chimpanzees but with a very different social structure.

Lead character Isabel Duncan is a scientist working intimately with a tribe of bonobos in a language lab, and finds the apes far easier to understand than humans. Indeed they have become her whole life, and she finds that the bonobos have become her true family.

Soon after a visit from a small team of journalists writing a human interest story on the apes, the lab is rocked by an explosion. As a result the bonobos are whisked away into a bizarre world of exploitation that seems all too real in today's society.

Sara must piece her life back together and, most importantly, save the only family she has - her bonobos.

Ape house is in parts mystery, comedy, social satire, tragedy and animal activism. It is a very enjoyable novel, that both entertains and makes you think.