Told simultaneously from the perspective of humans and chimpanzees, set in a Vermont home and a Florida primate research facility, A Beautiful Truth - at times brutal, other times deeply moving - is about the simple truths that transcend species, the meaning of family, the lure of belonging, and the capacity for survival.
A powerful and haunting meditation on human nature told from the dual perspectives of a Vermont family that has adopted a chimp as a surrogate son, and a group of chimpanzees in a Florida research institute.
Looee, a chimp raised by a well-meaning and compassionate human couple who cannot conceive a baby of their own, is forever set apart. He's not human, but with his peculiar upbringing he is no longer like other chimps. One tragic night Looee's two natures collide and their unique family is forever changed.
At the Girdish Institute in Florida, a group of chimpanzees has been studied for decades. The work at Girdish has proven that chimps have memories and solve problems, that they can learn language and need friends, and that they build complex cultures. They are political, altruistic, get angry, and forgive. When Looee is moved to the Institute, he is forced to try to find a place in their world.
A Beautiful Truth is an epic and heartfelt story about parenthood, friendship, loneliness, fear and conflict, about the things we hold sacred as humans and how much we have in common with our animal relatives. A novel of great heart and wisdom from a literary master, it exposes the yearnings, cruelty, and resilience of all great apes.
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"Brimming with ambition, McAdam delivers a thought-provoking foray into the not-so-dissimilar minds of our ape relatives." - Publishers Weekly
"What might be - and occasionally is - touching is undercut by McAdam's indulgences in a clankingly poetic style." - Kirkus
"Starred Review. With concise language, this heartbreaking tale of loneliness and remembrance reminds us that understanding is a process of growth and experience." - Library Journal
"[A] sure-handed and mature work, expertly weaving together shifts in voice and point of view and making use of a poetic language full of direct, sensual metaphors ... There are no platitudes about the power of love and our need to feel for one another, but rather an understanding of how sad and damaging a business love frequently is." - The Toronto Star
"Kafka's sketch [A Report to an Academy] is an enduring satire on the kinship between humans and primates. McAdam's novel is an earnest, daring and insistent attempt to show the moral implications of that kinship." - The Globe and Mail
"Packs a huge emotional punch. McAdam has effected a true leap of empathy, and in the process pulled off something often claimed to the point of cliché but very rarely achieved in fiction: He makes us see the world and ourselves in a new way." - Montreal Gazette
"From joyous to cautious, from hopeful to purely devastating, A Beautiful Truth touches on so many different aspects of human emotion, it's easy to forget that the perspective is often that of a chimpanzee." - The Winnepeg Review
"It's to McAdam's credit that Looee is such a living, breathing character, so rich in mind and trajectory that he elicits much empathy Maybe one of the most striking aspects of the novel is what this juxtaposition illuminates. Whether animal or human, the basic patterns of everyday life, the repetition, the need for contact, affirmation and love, are the same." - National Post
"McAdam has a poetic, impressionistic style, and a sense of humour, and the resulting fantasy is convincing and strangely melancholy." - Toronto Globe and Mail
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Colin McAdam's novel Some Great Thing won the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award and was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers Writers' Trust Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in the U.K. His second novel, Fall, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and awarded the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennon Prize. He has written for Harper's and lives in Toronto.
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