From the author of critically acclaimed Don Don comes this startling journey through a distant land. In an African country, while a civil war rages, Kibwe and Zuberi meet. Both are 12 years old, both are orphans; Kibwe's parents killed in the name of war and Zuberi's in the name of trade. Kibwe is a boy and Zuberi a gorilla, a young silverback. They are on the run: Kibwe, from the horrors he has committed as a child soldier, and Zuberi, from the violent hand of man. The former is desperate to reclaim his humanity; the latter, determined to have a family once more. Can they help one another get back what each has lost?
In this, his third novel, Nick Taussig constructs two parallel yet contrasting storylines – one with a young boy soldier as narrator and the other a gorilla, a young silverback – in order to explore the best and worst of human nature in the light of our ape inheritance.
These two strands gradually come together to produce a gripping, moving and provocative book. His most ambitious novel to date, this work has a timeless and apocalyptic feel.
"This thought-provoking tale is beautifully told." (Natasha Harding, The Sun)
"This clever and driven story. What a brave novel! It is hunting for big game, which is what a novel should do." (Ashley Stokes, The Guardian and Times Literary Supplement critic)
"In this book Nick Taussig evidences his intelligence, humility and humanity by juxtaposing the lives of two higher primates – one of which writes books. The author also thus renders the barriers we erect between our species and others to protect our sense of uniqueness otiose – or at least calls them (quite rightly) into question. Good research lends insight and texture. Avoidance of grandiose prose renders the text unpretentious and distinctly moorish! Perhaps the world would do well to read and ponder?" (Nicholas Green, author of The Shen by Nature)
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A gripping, disturbing read.
I might, but not right now. At least next time I listen to it, I know what happens.
I wish the book had been read by different south African voices to reflect the different tribes and races involved. Other than that, I thought the book was disturbing, yet thought provoking and read well.
- jillian grant