Sunday, January 16, 2011

Animal Rights Terrorists at the Ape House

I finally finished The Other Boleyn Girl. Towards the end I got bored with the story. I think the writer took too long to get to the beheading of Queen Anne, second wife of Henry VIII.

I moved on to The Ape House, our book club selection for discussion this Friday. I am only on page 70 bu the story so far is about some animal rights terrorists who have bombed a university's Great Ape Language Lab because of its project on bonobos. The setting for the lab is Kansas City. The main researcher, Isabel, communicates with the bonobos using sign language and she has been seriously burned and injured in the attack. The bonobos were freed and were initially hiding out in the trees and refusing to come down.

Prior to the attack Isabel had done an interview with John Thigpen, a journalist from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Already in the story there is some sexual tension between John, who is married to Amanda, and Isabel, who is secretly engaged to her work colleague, Peter. John and his colleague, Cat, have been sent back to Kansas City to follow up on the story. Cat, seems to want to undermine him and get a story on her own terms.

So far I am enjoying the storyline. There really is a place doing research on bonobos and their acquisition of language called the Great Ape Trust that the writer visited as part of the research for this book. This incidentally is the same center in Iowa where CNN's Anderson Cooper had to put on a ridiculous bunny suit to entertain some bonobo apes.

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