Ape House

Ape House

A Novel

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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After the extraordinary success of Water for Elephants, with 3 million copies shipped, Sara Gruen returns with another immensely charming, endlessly surprising, and engaging novel in which a family of apes teaches us what it means to be human.
Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants has become one of the most beloved and bestselling novels of our time. Now Gruen has moved from a circus elephant to family of bonobo apes. When the apes are kidnapped from a language laboratory, their mysterious appearance on a reality TV show calls into question our assumptions about these animals who share 99.4% of our DNA.
A devoted animal lover, Gruen has had a life-long fascination with human-ape discourse, and a particular interest in Bonobo apes, who share 99.4% of our DNA. She has studied linguistics and a system of lexigrams in order to communicate with apes, and is one of the few visitors who has been allowed access to the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, where the apes have come to love her. In bringing her experience and research to bear on this novel, she opens the animal world to us as few novelists have done.
Ape House is a riveting, funny, compassionate, and, finally, deeply moving new novel that secures Sara Gruen's place as a master storyteller who allows us to see ourselves as we never have before.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385523219
Characteristics: 306 p. ; 25 cm.

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Spirit_of_Che
Jan 07, 2017

Despite all of the accolades, I was surprised at the quality of this book from the author of water for elephants. I read the elephant book and enjoyed it greatly. This book reads like a written for TV movie with all of the obligatory, predictable subplots. It did not pass the 50 page test.

c
chedberg
Jan 19, 2016

I just picked this off the shelf and had not read Gruen before. I read it in less than 24 hours because I could not put it down except to sleep. I learned so much, too, that I hadn't known but should. Fabulous. I will now read everything she has written!

m
Memawrayne
Jun 04, 2015

Very interesting to learn about apes and their communication abilities. A fast paced story that held my interest. It was more about the characters than the apes, but they were a side story that held it together.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 22, 2014

This is a somewhat disappointing sophomore novel, following Gruen's truly marvelous "Water for Elephants." The plot fails with some jarringly unbelievable contentions, but scores points for developing an awareness of the potential of animal intelligence. The bonobos, at least, are fascinating.

s
sillymelinda
Oct 31, 2014

This was an excellent book, as far as I read, which was about half-way through the book. Then I began to get nervous about what was going to happen to the Bonobos, and what the outcome would be for all of them. I was attached to the Bonobos and the other characters, and I just couldn't see it ending well for everyone. Also, I could see bad things coming for at least some of the Bonobos. Maybe it would be OK in the end, or somewhat OK, but I really didn't want to see bad things happen to these animals I had gotten attached to, and perhaps not all of them would have survived to the end. These aren't things I know, just things I worried about, and so I chickened out and returned the book. I almost never do this. For a person who can keep more distance from the characters, and not care so much, this would probably be a great book. Well written, and engaging, and enlightening. Maybe I will have the nerve to try and finish it someday!

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 10, 2014

Working in the field of human-animal communication, Isabel Duncan, a research scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, develops a close relationship with her study group of bonobo apes. An explosion wrecks the research lab, causing her serious injury and leaving the apes vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment. Amidst the tension and humour related in the quest for their safe recovery, Gruen exposes the true horror of the abuse of research animals.

lbarkema Jun 19, 2014

I wish I could say this book was great, and I had kind-of high hopes because of the unique plot but unfortunately that wasn't enough to save it for me and make me really like it. The transitions between scenes were not done well at all and there seemed to be too many sub-plot random events that had nothing to do with the overall plot and it really distracted away from it. I just know Gruen could have been done so much better.

d
druby
Jun 09, 2013

I was reluctant to read this book even though it came highly recommended; the story just did not sound appealing at all. Also, I was not a fan of the author's other book "Water For Elephants" Well, turns out Ape House is a very good book after all. The characters are believable and the premise is quite unique. It also had a fair share of suspense thrown in for good measure.

z
zaire189
Jul 27, 2012

AMAZING NOVEL! I admit I was a bit hesitant to read it at first but I absolutely loved the book! JUSTICE was definitely SERVED! It was very touching to read about Isabel's undying devotion, love and care to the bonobos. It pained me to think though that such animal cruelty described in the book can possibly exist in the real world.With people like Isabel, I hope to see those animals facing these kind of circumstances will be soon safe and greatly cared for. Anyways, by the end of the book, I came to love each and everyone of the bonobos.

s
sayadeh
Jun 08, 2012

I didn't know what to expect from this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was plot-driven and entertaining. The author's description of Amanda's struggle to find success as a writer on her own terms made me wonder whether she was drawing from her own experience. Good bedtime reading.

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