The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

Benjamin Hale

Language: English

Pages: 592

ISBN: 044657158X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Bruno Littlemore is quite unlike any chimpanzee in the world. Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in a habitat at the local zoo, falls under the care of a university primatologist named Lydia Littlemore. Learning of Bruno's ability to speak, Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges. His untimely outbursts ultimately cost Lydia her job, and send the unlikely pair on the road in what proves to be one of the most unforgettable journeys -- and most affecting love stories -- in recent literature. Like its protagonist, this novel is big, loud, abrasive, witty, perverse, earnest and amazingly accomplished. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore goes beyond satire by showing us not what it means, but what it feels like be human -- to love and lose, learn, aspire, grasp, and, in the end, to fail.

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all the grubby little children would commence to sob in terror. They laughed at my Lear and cried at my Santa. The bastards.” “Othello?” “I like Othello. It’s got lots of casual chat. You don’t get casual chat in Lear, everyone’s too busy thinking about the universe. But I’m afraid that in this day and age it would be in poor taste for me to wear blackface.” We discussed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Love’s Labours Lost, and Coriolanus, but rejected each in turn for various and sundry

looming high over Chicago. I did not yet know that each of these monsters had a name—the Tribune Tower, the John Hancock Center, the Sears Tower—but I knew that they shot into the sky so high that tracing their heights made me queasy and light-headed. I knew that they were designed with bizarre and terrifying features jagging and cragging out of them, juts and abutments and spikes and spurs and needles and bars and crowns and prongs and horns and forks and knives, a tangled skein of twisted metal

I pant-hooted, I cheered in delight, because I loved the shimmering music they made. This is something, by the way, that the scientists who worked in the laboratory never once thought of doing: to reward my progress not with tidbits of food, but with beautiful noise. For sometimes I simply was not hungry—so at these times the reward of a treat meant nothing to me outside of the psychological reward of their approval—but my appetite for beautiful noises was always insatiable. We repeated this

energy-saving fluorescent lights do, the full glow preceded by three false starts: nzt-nzt-nzt-nzzzzzzzzzz—————. And I know that upon seeing him, I stood up in my cage, and held on to the bars with one hand, and with the other I pointed at myself and said, as loudly and as articulately as any man: “BRUNO!” And I know that I wished Lydia had been there to hear me. Part Two What may this mean? Language of man pronounced By tongue of brute, and human sense expressed? —Eve, to Satan,

seen them in parks in Chicago before, but always at a distance, for ordinarily creatures of the canine ilk were distrustful of me and tended to keep their distance. Not this dog, though. Apparently this dog was accustomed to cohabiting not only with humans but also with enculturated chimps, and thus was not put off by my unusual appearance. Noticing me sitting not far away from its master, this dog soon lifted its servile and loving head from the cushion of Mr. Lawrence’s leg, and came clicking

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