A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam

71%

7 Critic Reviews

Brimming with ambition, McAdam delivers a thought-provoking foray into the not-so-dissimilar minds of our ape relatives.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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.

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 he is certainly no longer like other chimps. And then one night, after years at the family's Vermont home, their unique family life is changed forever.

At the Girdish Institute, a group of chimpanzees has been studied for decades. There is proof that chimps have memories and solve problems, that they can learn language and need friends. They are political, altruistic, get angry, and forgive. Mr. Ghoul has been there from the beginning, and has grown up in a world of rivals, sex, and unpredictable loss.

Looee and Mr. Ghoul travel distant but parallel paths through childhood, adolescence, and early middle age until Looee, who endures the darker side of Girdish, ends up meeting his kindred spirit long after he moves from Vermont.
 

About Colin McAdam

See more books from this Author
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.




Author Residence: Toronto, Canada
 
Published September 17, 2013 by Soho Press. 305 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for A Beautiful Truth
All: 7 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Jun 20 2013

What might be—and occasionally is—touching is undercut by McAdam's indulgences in a clankingly poetic style.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Jane Housham on May 23 2014

McAdam's depiction of the personalities in this damaged community seems driven by gut instinct, his language surfing on neologisms and onomatopoeia with a perfect light touch...Brilliantly riffing on the apeness of humans and vice versa, the beautiful truth of McAdam's novel is complex, subtle and intensely moving.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jun 24 2013

Brimming with ambition, McAdam delivers a thought-provoking foray into the not-so-dissimilar minds of our ape relatives.

Read Full Review of A Beautiful Truth | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Alex Good on Mar 22 2013

It would be easy for subject matter like this to sink into pathos, but McAdam avoids this by leading us to recognize in Looee’s fate not just the results of high-handed human meddling but a reflection of our own unbearable condition.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Devyani Saltzman on Mar 22 2013

A Beautiful Truth balances a lot. The quiet familial narrative of the Ribkes; the inner world of our closest related primates, chimpanzees; and the big questions both raise about family, humanity, parenthood and the line between human and animal.

Read Full Review of A Beautiful Truth | See more reviews from National Post arts

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Medley on Mar 22 2013

...it’s a book that ultimately rewards its readers.

Read Full Review of A Beautiful Truth | See more reviews from National Post arts

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Devyani Saltzman on Mar 22 2013

A Beautiful Truth balances a lot. The quiet familial narrative of the Ribkes; the inner world of our closest related primates, chimpanzees; and the big questions both raise about family, humanity, parenthood and the line between human and animal. It might not always succeed, but with quiet grace it does make you think.

Read Full Review of A Beautiful Truth | See more reviews from National Post arts

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Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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