The Woman and the Ape: A Novel
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The Woman and the Ape is the story of a unique and unforgettable couple--Madelene and Erasmus. Madelene is the wife of Adam Burden, a distinguished behavioral scientist. Erasmus--the unlikely prince--is a 300-pound ape. Brought to the Burdens' London home after escaping from animal smugglers, Erasmus is discovered to be a highly intelligent anthropoid ape, the closest thing yet to a human being. Madelene decides to save Erasmus, and between them blossoms a profound affection as deep as any human relationship. A fable for our time, The Woman and the Ape poses searching questions about the nature of love, freedom, and humanity.
moths, formaldehyde and barely suppressed decay. Then he had switched on a dazzling electric light and recited his professional credo. The shed was filled with his parents’ hunting trophies. With tusks, lion skins, shark jaws, bird of paradise plumage, rhino horns, antlers, roebuck heads, python skins, whale bones, a stuffed and mounted gorilla head and the skins of two Komodo dragons grafted, by the new dermatoplasty method, onto life-size models. Adam had steered her over to a picture of his
Then she sat down to wait. At ten o’clock a car drove into the courtyard. From the window she watched Adam come out to meet two men, after which they and Clapham spent the next two hours carrying boxes of various sizes from the car into the garden room. Then the car drove away. At two in the morning Adam emerged and went up to his rooms. Madelene gave him five minutes, then followed him. When she entered the room it was empty. Adam was in the bathroom. The long table that ran the length of one
himself. “Does one ever?” “These pictures, did you take them?” He shook his head. “I think back on the old days,” he said. “Those golden days. Barely ten years ago. When one still dared to hope.” Madelene stroked the arm of his white coat, probing. “I think of them,” he said. “But I don’t speak of them. It’s better that way. As things stand.” “Just say it,” Madelene urged gently. “The dog won’t understand a word anyway.” Alexander Bowen was aware of a pleasant lack of clarity. His
a rigidity as substantial as fired granite. Madelene looked up. She placed her other hand on the ape’s face and felt the same thing there. The skin was pale, quite fine, transparent. Beneath and across it she could sense the microscopic, fast alternating surges of feeling, the thready, capillary trees of blood. And underlying this fragility was something else—its pulse, the solid urgency of its arousal. She nodded in the direction of its penis. “Cock,” she said. The ape stretched out an arm,
reluctance that her memory began once more to function. “Chosen,” she said. “That there’s something you have to do.” The ape nodded. “There’s something I have to do,” it said. “That’s why I came.” Around them the garden hummed, warm and drowsy. Everything was as before. But nothing would ever be the same again. “The animals,” said the ape, “here in the garden, they don’t know what to make of us. That’s why they’re afraid of us. Why they run away. In order to stay invisible they run away.