Excerpt from Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Three Weeks in December

by Audrey Schulman

Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman X
Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Jan 2012, 353 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


" - No tribes are involved. No people at all," Roswell interrupted. "This vine, it grows several thousand feet up in the mountains, in a national park."

This caught her for a moment. She turned the fact over in her mind, examining it. "Where'd you... Who found the vine?"

"Gorillas."

"Excuse me?"

"Mountain gorillas."

"Look," said Stevens. "Jaguars were the ones to first use quinine, gnawing on bark from a cinchona tree whenever they had malaria. Pigeons discovered the power of coffee beans. For thousands of years humans have learned about drugs from watching other animals. Primates are especially sophisticated at botanical pharmacology. Female muriqui monkeys, for example, utilize over forty plants for everything from parasite control to contraceptives."

Max said, "Contraceptives?"

"During famines, the females consume a plant that's high in a progesterone-mimicking compound so they won't waste energy on pregnancy."

"Damn."

"Can we get back to the subject here?" Roswell used shorter sentences, a sort of staccato delivery. "Dubois is her name. The person who sent in the vine. She's French. A primatologist working with gorillas in the Rwandan mountains. She noticed the adult males would crush leaves of the vine in their mouths, then spit them out. Got curious about possible bioactive properties. Sent a sample to her college roommate who's a chemist."

"A chemist who happens to work for us," Stevens said. Roswell continued, "We know gorillas are genetically prone to heart disease. Among the males in captivity, it's the biggest killer. Half the great apes you see at the zoo are on Lipitor."

Stevens held up one finger, waiting for the pause. He was proud of this next bit of information. "Contrast those gorillas with the ones in the mountains where this vine grows. The area happens to be where Dian Fossey set up her research station in the 1960s. For the decades since then, scientists have been doing postmortems on every dead gorilla they've found in the area, recording the results." He added, "No sign of heart disease. Ever. No myocardial infarctions, no dilated cardiomyopathy, nada. Even in the ones that die of old age."

Roswell said, each word slow and enunciated. "This vine might be why."

"Fuck." Fricatives so satisfying. "Fuck." On bad days she used to not be able to stop her swearing. Now she used it as a control valve, letting off steam when necessary. Done this way, it sounded almost the way others swore.

The men went still. They were surprised, but not necessarily displeased.

Max closed her eyes, breathing, concentrating on finding errors in their logic. "Gorillas are a different species. What works on them might not..."

"You ever talk to a vet specializing in great apes? They fill the prescriptions at CVS. The only difference is dosage."

Max said, "The primatologist? What about her?"

"Dubois?"

"Yes, she found it. She's got a prior claim."

"Well, about her, there are pluses and minuses." Stevens chose his words with care. "She did sign away her claim."

"A big plus," said Roswell.

"She signed in exchange for us paying for park guards to patrol the mountains for the next decade. I guess hunters in the area tend to kill the gorillas. She's a big softie about the apes."

Roswell said, "Paying for the guards works for us. We'll be protecting the world's remaining mountain gorillas. The advertising department will love it."

"And the minuses with her?" asked Max.

"She won't send us more of the vine or show us where she found it."

"Why not?"

"God knows," Stevens said. "She's weird."

"Dr. Tombay, listen." Roswell thumped his finger on the arm of his chair as methodically as a metronome, beating out a rhythm to his words. "Because we're paying for the guards," thump, "she'll let you stay at the research station." Thump. "You can search as long as you want." Thump. "She thinks no one can find the vine."

Excerpted from Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman. Copyright © 2012 by Audrey Schulman. Excerpted by permission of Europa Editions. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Mountain Gorillas of Africa

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: To Siri with Love
    To Siri with Love
    by Judith Newman
    It is likely that you know someone who is impacted by autism: In 2017, the U.S. Centers for Disease ...
  • Book Jacket: The Story of Arthur Truluv
    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg
    Elizabeth Berg's heartwarming novel scored an an impressive 4.4 average rating from the 48 members ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Knowledge is of two kinds...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.