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The Woman and the Ape [Paperback]

Peter Hoeg , Barbara Haveland
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Jan 1997
General Fiction Large Print Edition Hoeg is an adventurous and intelligent writer whose future course seems happily, impossible to predict . . . one of the essential contemporary novelists.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The Harvill Press; paperback / softback edition (2 Jan 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860462553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860462559
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,017,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


""The Woman and the Ape" has many arrestingly stylish and inventive passages and an overall brilliance of tone that shows once again the originality of Mr. Ho eg's voice."--"The New York Times" "No imaginative writer working today is any more daring than Danish novelist Peter Ho eg. . . . An utterly original mix of fantasy, fable, myth, and love story."--"Booklist"

Book Description

From the author of international success Smilla's Sense of Snow, comes a brilliant, hilarious and thought-provoking love story, which unites fantasy, fable, and myth with reality, and a woman with an ape. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Though "humorous" is not a word usually associated with Peter Hoeg, The Woman and the Ape, with its irony and satire, is very, very funny. An ape of unknown primate species escapes smugglers at the docks of London, only to be captured by animal researchers and primatologists, who intend to advance human knowledge--and themselves--through their testing and research on him.
The ape, named Erasmus, is actually more intelligent than the men who are testing him secretly at the estate of Adam Burden, a zoolological research director. When Madelene, Burden's alcoholic wife, discovers Erasmus, she helps him escape, and the two go off together. Establishing their own Garden of Eden in a protected forest outside of London, Erasmus and Madelene enjoy seven weeks of mutual discovery, learning, and eventually love, hidden from the outside world. When Erasmus learns to speak English and Madelene's native language, Danish, the two return to London.
Hoeg is brutally satiric of British society and academia as Adam Burden, his evil sister Andrea, the scientific community, the smuggling network, and virtually all other humans are shown to be arrogant in their assumptions about the relationship of men and animals. They will be taught an object lesson, and Madelene and Erasmus are only too happy to provide it. Themes of freedom vs. captivity (real and symbolic), man's role in the evolutionary scheme of things, and the fragility of the environment are developed, none too subtly, as the ape proves his superiority to "civilized" humanity. When asked what he calls the other members of his species, Erasmus replies, "People," indicating that humans would be considered "animals" where he lives.
This satire/sci-fi novel, though intriguing, is strange, becoming even stranger with its interspecies love affair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hoeg is on form 24 Dec 2003
So many good things to say about this book.... its got the same hook that drew me into Hoegs others, i.e. a convincing and novel peek into someone's conciousness, in this case Madelene, a likeable lonely alcoholic seperated from her native Denmark and married to the ambitious zooologist Adam Burden. Its also a startlingly witty satire and a high tempo thriller with twists and turns that had me gripped. On another level its a commentary on the way our civilisation works, and a bit of a reworking of the Eden/paradise myth. Good stuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good and unusual story 26 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very well written and once one got over the intimacy between ape and women and realised the message behind it it was a gripping ready Penny
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, exciting and illuminating 28 July 2009
I read this book over five years ago. It has stayed with me all this time and now I intend to re-read it. There are not many books that make you feel like that.
It is unique and exciting and gives us a great fly on the wall view of contempoary society. Even makes you re-evaluate what you consider is your own humanity and think about mans treatment of other sentient beings.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wierd but not wonderful 16 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very strange book, and I'm not sure I understood what the author was trying to say. Perhaps you have to be Danish to 'get'it? I stuck with it to the end but can't say I'm glad I did - a bit like watching something on TV only to find that you've wasted two hours of your time.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It really makes you wonder.... 3 July 2000
By A Customer
Not excately an everyday tale of everyday people. I never really got into the Peter Hoeg thing. In Denmark he is considered as one of these authors you must have read if you want to have an opinion . This book really gives you something to talk about weather it's ethics, evolution, sex, love or if the queen is an ape. Read it and feel good about stimulating thoughts you thought you would never have!
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