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Theory of Bastards: Book summary and reviews of Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman

Theory of Bastards

by Audrey Schulman

Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman X
Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman
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Book Summary

This thrilling literary novel will resonate, long after the final page is turned.

"Stage four. Surgery. Recovering." While those are the simple words that once described Dr. Francine Burk's situation, the reality is much more complex. Her new reality is bacon rinds for breakfast and feeling unduly thrilled by her increasing ability to walk across a room without assistance. And it's being offered a placement at a prestigious research institute where she can put to good use her recent award money. With the Foundation's advanced technological resources and a group of fascinating primates, Francine can begin to verify her subversive scientific discovery, which has challenged the foundations of history - her Theory of Bastards.

Frankie finds that the bonobos she's studying are as complex as the humans she's working alongside. Their personalities are strong and distinct, and reigning over it all is Mama, the commanding matriarchal leader of the group. Frankie comes to know the bonobos and to further develop her groundbreaking theory with the help of her research partner, a man with a complicated past and perhaps a place in her future. And then something changes everything, and the lines that divide them - between subject and scientist, between colleague and companion - begin to blur.

With deft skill and heartbreaking honesty, Audrey Schulman delves into the very nature of her characters. Her newest novel explores the nuances of communication, the implications of unquestioned technological advancement, and the enduring power of love in a way that is essential and urgent in today's world.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"Thirty-three year-old Francine Burke, a MacArthur genius, is a compelling protagonist for this surreal novel. The whip-smart scientist embarks on a research project about the behavior of bonobos, which soon takes its twists and turns in a world ravaged by climate change. Burke makes for a fascinating character but despite her acerbic strong-mindedness, the story's setting and the bonobos research deliver too much of a clinical remove for the reader to be fully invested in the novel."

Other Reviews
"In the past, Europa brought us Muriel Barbery's quietly brilliant takedown of class superiority, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, the witty novels of Jane Gardam, and Jean-Claude Izzo's haunting and brutal Marseille trilogy, the foundational work of contemporary Mediterranean noir. To such distinguished company we should now add Audrey Schulman's deeply affecting Theory of Bastards." - The Washington Post, Michael Dirda

"Starred Review. [A] wonderful, intricate novel...The incorporation of research into the narrative is seamless, and the result is an astute, impeccable page-turner readers will savor." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. [A] deeply unusual, psychologically astute novel about technology and survival, sex and love...Beguiling, irreverent, and full of heart." - Kirkus

"Singular, inventive, and provocative, Theory of Bastards warrants attention." - Foreword Reviews

"Schulman has written a futuristic tale that places animals and people on a journey of survival...A fascinating look at the cooperation between man and beast and the attachments that are forged. Awesome!" - Page & Palette

"This is the most absorbing novel I've read all year!...The science she draws on is 100 percent accurate, the technology she foresees is completely believable, and the relationships between the humans and bonobos are among the richest and most compelling of any personal connections described in literature. And the ending - wow." - Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus

The information about Theory of Bastards shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. 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 of this book 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.

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Author Information

Audrey Schulman Author Biography

Born a long time ago, in another country, Schulman has traveled enough to have vomited on four continents, including once onto a Masai tribesman's feet. He, unfortunately, was barefoot.

Schulman has published The Cage, Swimming with Jonah, A House Named Brazil and, most recently, Three Weeks in December.

Her books have been translated into 11 languages, reviewed by the New Yorker and twice been selected as notable books by the American Library Association. Her books aren't boring. For a short time, one was even optioned for a movie with Wes Craven (the director of Nightmare on Elm Street). Articles by Schulman have been anthologized, as well as published in Orion, Grist, Ms. Magazine, Bust and others.

She now lives near Boston with her family and runs an energy-...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Audrey Schulman's Website

Name Pronunciation
Audrey Schulman: SHULL-man

Other books by Audrey Schulman at BookBrowse
  • Three Weeks in December jacket
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