by Francine Prose
narrated by Kirby Heyborne, Nan McNamara
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Genre: Literary, Dark Humor
Hardback: 304 pages
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a scientist (and loving mother) by the name of Mrs. Jimson say a tearful good-bye to he family in New York and went to study monkeys in Africa.
The micro-zombie that eats our brains.
The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author weaves an ingenious, darkly humorous, and brilliantly observant story that follows the exploits and intrigue of a constellation of characters affiliated with an off-off-off-off Broadway children’s musical.
Mister Monkey—a screwball children’s musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee—is the kind of family favorite that survives far past its prime. Margot, who plays the chimp’s lawyer, knows the production is dreadful and bemoans the failure of her acting career. She’s settled into the drudgery of playing a humiliating part—until the day she receives a mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer . . . and later, in the middle of a performance, has a shocking encounter with Adam, the twelve-year-old who plays the title role.
Francine Prose’s effervescent comedy is told from the viewpoints of wildly unreliable, seemingly disparate characters whose lives become deeply connected as the madcap narrative unfolds. There is Adam, whose looming adolescence informs his interpretation of his role; Edward, a young audience member who is candidly unimpressed with the play; Ray, the author of the novel on which the musical is based, who witnesses one of the most awkward first dates in literature; and even the eponymous Mister Monkey, the Monkey God himself.
With her trademark wit and verve, Prose delves into humanity’s most profound mysteries: art, ambition, childhood, aging, and love. Startling and captivating, Mister Monkey is a breathtaking novel from a writer at the height of her craft.
I liked the format of this story that revolves around Mister Monkey the theatre production as well as Mister Monkey the character.
The various characters involved in the production and touched by Mister Monkey take turns in telling this story. Each perspective presents the theatre world as well as serious life issues.
* Listened to audiobook version.
* part of Tournament of Books 2017 (here)