Ape House by Sara Gruen
A Novel

56%

15 Critic Reviews

...the book's failure is in not concocting an engaging story through which to preach the beauty of the bonobos...The message is the book's reason to be, she seems to tell us. But a novel requires more attention be paid to the art.
-LA Times

Synopsis

The wildly entertaining new novel from the bestselling author of Water for Elephants.

BONUS: This edition contains a reader's guide.
 
Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani, and Makena are no ordinary apes. These bonobos, like others of their species, are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships—but unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language.

Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn’t understand people, but animals she gets—especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she’s ever felt among humans . . . until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what’s really going on inside.

When an explosion rocks the lab, severely injuring Isabel and “liberating” the apes, John’s human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime, one he’ll risk his career and his marriage to follow. Then a reality TV show featuring the missing apes debuts under mysterious circumstances, and it immediately becomes the biggest—and unlikeliest—phenomenon in the history of modern media. Millions of fans are glued to their screens watching the apes order greasy take-out, have generous amounts of sex, and sign for Isabel to come get them. Now, to save her family of apes from this parody of human life, Isabel must connect with her own kind, including John, a green-haired vegan, and a retired porn star with her own agenda.

Ape House delivers great entertainment, but it also opens the animal world to us in ways few novels have done, securing Sara Gruen’s place as a master storyteller who allows us to see ourselves as we never have before.

 

About Sara Gruen

See more books from this Author
SARA GRUEN is the best selling author of Riding Lessons and Water for Elephants. She is an animal lover who lives with her husband, three children, five cats, two goats, a dog, and a horse in an environmentalist community north of Chicago.
 
Published September 7, 2010 by Spiegel & Grau. 370 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Ape House
All: 15 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 7

NY Times

Good
on Sep 03 2010

...“Ape House” seems to want to be a different kind of book, one that would seek unabashedly to move us, to leave us changed.

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Guardian

Below average
on Mar 26 2011

...Gruen is not quite prepared for the philosophical implications of her subject, it is not as deeply involving emotionally or as interesting thematically as it could be.

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Examiner

Below average
on Oct 21 2011

...I was completely enthralled by Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants and I feel like Ape House is missing some of that magic.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Diane Baker Mason on Sep 10 2010

Sara Gruen is clearly an ardent animal-lover herself, and no doubt she hasn't forgotten them, either. Perhaps she hopes that her book will change things for them and for all the apes, who despite having learned to talk to us, have not yet been able to teach us how to listen.

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AV Club

Below average
on Sep 16 2010

The book is packed with so much extraneous material that even the beautifully executed scenes involving the apes can’t save it.

Read Full Review of Ape House: A Novel | See more reviews from AV Club

LA Times

Below average
on Sep 07 2010

...the book's failure is in not concocting an engaging story through which to preach the beauty of the bonobos...The message is the book's reason to be, she seems to tell us. But a novel requires more attention be paid to the art.

Read Full Review of Ape House: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times

Entertainment Weekly

Good
on Sep 01 2010

...the chapters are brisk and the action is swift. Whenever one of the humans starts to bore, you can be sure that a charming bonobo will quickly come to the rescue.

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The Washington Post

Below average
on Sep 08 2010

The 800-pound gorilla in the room is why someone at Gruen's new publishing house didn't give her the benefit of a good edit. Even if the silly story and the trite characters couldn't be saved, why leave these pages pocked with such lines?

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Dallas News

Above average
on Sep 12 2010

Gruen must have picked up a thing or two about the circus from Elephant; I've never seen an author more gracefully navigate the tightrope above the minefield topics of animal rights, evolution, serious vs. tabloid journalism and more.

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Oregon Live

Below average
on Sep 18 2010

...she's done much to reveal the plight of abused and endangered "critters," as she calls them. But in this book her effort to make us care turns out to be something of a lamentable bust.

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About.com

Excellent

This seems such a mundane story line, but in Gruen’s able hands it soars into literary excellence and storytelling. Ape House is by turns funny and heartbreaking, with instances of tenderness and terror.

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About.com Bestsellers

Above average
on Sep 07 2010

'Ape House' is an easy read with plenty of plot to drive it forward...

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Boston.com

Above average
on Sep 07 2010

Isabel is interestingly quirky, but her engagement to fellow scientist Peter never quite rings true.

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Salon

Good
on Sep 08 2010

Lively, witty, warmhearted and sharp, these six prove to be scene-stealers of the first order.

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Las Vegas Review Journal

Good
on Sep 14 2010

Visiting the Trust must have been extremely exciting for Gruen for her enthusiasm translates throughout the novel and it is hoped will inspire readers to do their own research on great apes...

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Reader Rating for Ape House
68%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 481 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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