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His Monkey Wife (Or, Married to a Chimp) Paperback – May 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Collier's comic spoof follows a pet chimpanzee's attempt to break the engagement of her owner. As the plot unfolds, the monkey reveals herself to be far more sophisticated and loving than the fianc e, who is more interested in herself. This 1930 farce is still good for a few laughs. This is the only paperback edition currently available.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Extraordinary first novel. It is impossible to convey the subtle wit which makes you laugh aloud, the beauty and the penetrating satire which blend so perfectly in its brilliance...'His Monkey Wife' is one of the best books of the year and one of the most amusing in many years." -- Booklist, May, 1931

"The whole is written with sly humor throughout and is illuminated by splendid similies and metaphors which mark the author as a true humorist." -- The New York Times, April 19, 1931

"Truly sui generis . . . a small masterpiece of social satire . . . I suspect that Collier's [novel] will long endure." -- Boston Globe
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Paul Dry Books; 1st Paul Dry Books ed edition (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966491335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966491333
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,365,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By kennedy19 on July 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
It's good to see this offbeat little classic back in print. John Collier is perhaps better known for his short stories, but this first novel was an exquisitely funny satire. It tells the story of Emily, a chimpanzee who pines for a certain Englishman, Mr. Fatigay, while he teaches school in Africa. When Fatigay returns to England, he takes the friendly chimp with him as a companion, for he realizes that she is clever... though he has no idea that the silent chimp is able to read and to recite literature in her head, nor that she loves him. Emily is handed over to Mr. Fatigay's human girlfriend in England, who will tolerate no rival of any sort and treats her new servant shabbily. Still, Emily finds time to dress up and sneak out to London and the British Museum Reading room (where she is taken for a fascinating woman of mystery!) among other absurd adventures. Though the book is lighthearted, we do feel for its protagonist and her hidden love. Collier has a keen eye for the petty foibles of humankind, and of course the big joke is that the chimp is more intelligent and sensitive than any human here. The premise is somewhat outrageous, but the good writing allows us to suspend disbelief and go along for a ride filled with subtle giggles and wicked belly laughs.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
If this is not a lost treasure, I don't know what is. "His Monkey Wife" is exceptionally unique and delightful to read. I found myself identifying with and empathising with Emily (the "chimp") and rooting for her throughout.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Conrad on August 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I must say that despite my qualms about some of the author's "politics," not to mention his barely-simmering-below-the-surface rage toward "modern, independent" women, I'm still so taken with the prose style and the very loveable character of Emily that I've read 180 pp and am almost sad to be coming to the end.

And to be fair, Collier manages to skewer the entire leisure class- though he does reserve his sharpest barbs for the women.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Britton on May 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
when you read this book. Thirty or so pages into the novel I found that I was hurrying through the description to get at the plot and getting frustrated. Then I became captivated with the language (a la Jane Austin) and I started the book over - slower this time. Emily the chimp is a dear and a terrific role model for "women" the world over. I was rooting for her all the way!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teed Rockwell on March 17, 2015
Format: Paperback
I read this many years ago, but I've been thinking about it a lot since "50 shades of Grey" came out. This is a brilliant parody of the trope that 50SG is recycling--also the basis for "Rebecca", "Pamela", "Jane Eyre" Austen's "Mansfield Park" and numerous Harlequin Romances: Poor Servant Girl captures the heart of Rich and Powerful Man because she herself is pure at heart. He tells this story the way it has always been told--except for the fact that the heroine is a chimpanzee. An absolutely brilliant parody, but you have to be aware of how he ridicules every step in this overtold story to appreciate how brilliant it is. There is also some incisive satire of British Colonialism, which brings in elements of the "Doomed Romance with the Dark Foreign Girl" story. This story usually ends in tragedy as a way of insuring that the Colonial Master marries a girl from back home , and uses the foreign girl only for premarital dalliance. (This was the basis for Madam Butterfly among many other stories) Only in this case the Dark Foreign Girl wins the master and lives happily ever after--outrageous in itself for 1930s Britain, but made more outrageous because--the heroine is a chimpanzee. This is not a racist book, but a hilarious send up of colonial racism that was way ahead of its time.
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