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A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam

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I find the scenario here immensely sad. I am at heart an animal lover and the idea of families adopting chimps and bringing them up as children is very frightening. For those families to then discard the animals and give them to science is pure torture in my mind. This is one such tale ambitiously written from the alternative perspectives of both humans and chimpanzees, from the scientists, keepers, family and animals. I found it moving, fascinating, unsettling, gripping and very depressing. An important book.

If you like Colin McAdam you might also like to read books by Yann Martel, Michael Morpurgo and Karen Joy Fowler.


A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam

Walt and Judy's happiness has been blighted by their childlessness; although their marriage seems blissful, Judy feels increasingly empty and Walt longs to make her happy again. So one day he brings home Looee - a baby chimpanzee. Looee, exuberant and demanding, immediately fills the gap in Walt and Judy's life, and they come to love him as their own son. Like any child, Looee is affectionate and quick to learn, generous and engaging. But he is also a deeply unpredictable animal, and one night their unique family life is changed forever. At the Girdish Institute, chimpanzees have been studied for decades to prove that they are political, altruistic, often angry but also capable of forgiveness. The chimps at the Institute travel a parallel path to Looee's; they experience friendship, loss and rivalry, just as he does. When these two paths meet, startling truths are revealed about all great apes, captive and free, beloved or abandoned. Told alternately from the perspective of humans and chimpanzees, A Beautiful Truth is a profound and gripping story about the things we hold sacred and the truths of nature we so often ignore.

About the Author

COLIN McADAM has written for Harper's and The Walrus. His novel Some Great Thing won the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award and was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best first book and for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His second novel, Fall, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and awarded the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize. He lives in Toronto.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st May 2014


Colin McAdam

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Granta Books


386 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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