Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

Benjamin Hale’s award-winning first novel, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, is a relentlessly inventive coming-of-age narrative told from the point of view of Bruno. Bruno is powerfully complex, Bruno had a sexual relationship with his caregiver, Lydia Littlemore, a university primatologist, Bruno murdered someone, Bruno is imprisoned for a murder he can’t bring himself to regret   Bruno himself and the outrageous arrogance in which he narrates this, his memoir, is comparable to that of, Humbert Humbert -the vain and vile protagonist, in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.  There is however, a notable difference, …

Bruno happens to be the world’s first talking chimpanzee, a highly intelligent and articulate species, with an ever-expanding vocabulary. This stunning debut novel chronicles the extraordinary events that lead to his imprisonment for murdering a man… The subject matter is serious in nature yet it includes humor, violence, heartbreak and perversion. Bruno’s fictional memoir stands apart for its brilliant and striking expression of what it feels like to be human – and finding one’s own voice.

As for the sex, “It’s not bestiality,” said Cary Goldstein, the book’s editor at Twelve. “It’s love.” I suspect many will consider that to be a matter of individual opinion. There is no doubt that this will get a lot of attention and provoke a lot of conversations throughout the literary world of publishers, readers, and authors alike.

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is a compelling and remarkable debut novel by a noteworthy and gifted young author.  It is an ambitious, enjoyable, yet lengthy debut novel; still, Hale’s skillful ability as a storyteller cannot be ignored.  This is a novel that has appeal and is more appropriate for adult readers.
Review copy provided by publisher.

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