Mister Monkey: Book summary and reviews of Mister Monkey by Francine Prose

Mister Monkey

by Francine Prose

Mister Monkey by Francine Prose X
Mister Monkey by Francine Prose
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2016
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

An ingenious, darkly humorous, and brilliantly observant story that follows the exploits and intrigue of a constellation of characters affiliated with an off-off-off-off Broadway children's musical.

Mister Monkey - a screwball children's musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee - is the kind of family favorite that survives far past its prime. Margot, who plays the chimp's lawyer, knows the production is dreadful and bemoans the failure of her acting career. She's settled into the drudgery of playing a humiliating part - until the day she receives a mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer ... and later, in the middle of a performance, has a shocking encounter with Adam, the twelve-year-old who plays the title role.

Francine Prose's effervescent comedy is told from the viewpoints of wildly unreliable, seemingly disparate characters whose lives become deeply connected as the madcap narrative unfolds. There is Adam, whose looming adolescence informs his interpretation of his role; Edward, a young audience member who is candidly unimpressed with the play; Ray, the author of the novel on which the musical is based, who witnesses one of the most awkward first dates in literature; and even the eponymous Mister Monkey, the Monkey God himself.

With her trademark wit and verve, Prose delves into humanity's most profound mysteries: art, ambition, childhood, aging, and love. Startling and captivating, Mister Monkey is a breathtaking novel from a writer at the height of her craft.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Wickedly funny and sharply observant, in the author's vintage manner, with a warmth that softens the satire just enough." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Prose is resplendent in this exceptionally keen, artistic, funny, empathic, and intricate dance of longing and coincidence." - Booklist

"As absorbing and three-dimensional as each character is, the development of the actual novel feels awkwardly formulaic, and the strangeness of the play itself (for instance, Margot plays the monkey 's lawyer in a rainbow wig) is stilted, despite the genuine intrigue of each scene in the novel." - Publishers Weekly

"A fairly breezy read with hidden, and not so hidden, depths." - Library Journal

"How does Prose do it? With precision, intelligence and wicked jocularity. She measures art in monkeys. She demands an evolution. This book hilariously swings through a backstage rank with hormones, ambition and an unforgettable cast of characters. Prose's words entice and excite like a darkened theater where the show is just about to begin." - Samantha Hunt, author of Mr. Splitfoot

"Besides making me laugh out loud, its earned warmth and yes its effortless insight into the madness of the human heart creates pure delight. Francine Prose's best novel." - John Guare, distinguished playwright and author of The House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation, and Landscape of the Body

This information about Mister Monkey shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Francine Prose Author Biography

© Marion Ettinger

Francine Prose is the author of several novels, non-fiction books, and short story collections. She is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College, and was formerly president of PEN American Center, a New York City-based literary society of writers, editors and translators that works to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.

She received the PEN Translation Prize in 1988 and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. Prose's novel The Glorious Ones has been adapted into a musical with the same title. Her more recent works include My New American Life (2011), The Turning (2012) and Lovers at the Chameleon Club (2014).

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