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Mr. Thundermug: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 6, 2007


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, February 6, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This curious, slender debut—a "case history" complete with photographs—documents the appearance in a London-like city of Mr. Thundermug, a baboon who speaks perfect English, squats in a condemned apartment building with his wife and two children, and survives on foraged cockroaches and melon. The baboon's origins are unknown, but the unnamed narrator, a journalist, suggests that Mr. Thundermug may be linked to the mysteriously vanished zoologist, Dr. Alphonsus Rotz, whose immersion fieldwork with a baboon colony had led him to theorize, suggestively, about cross-breeding between humans and baboons. Mr. Thundermug is smart and articulate, but he can't read the eviction notices from the Housing Department. He sends his children to school and befriends their teacher, Miss Angela Young, who teaches him to read and write. After being harassed by the Housing Department, Mr. Thundermug is arrested for, among other things, cruelty to animals (his children sleep in the bathtub). He is vindicated, but his wife and children (none of whom can speak a human language) fare less well. Britisher Medvei offers a gently affecting and often funny allegory of the outsider, but his awkward framing of the "facts" gives the story a distance that diminishes its impact. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Mr. Thundermug is a baboon–a baboon with the ability to convey his thoughts and feelings in flawless English. His quiet arrival, with his nonspeaking wife and children, in an unnamed Anglo-Asian city is at first unnoticed. Soon, however, the human inhabitants become aware of his presence and his implicit challenge to their beliefs about what is human and what is animal. Mr. Thundermug's social and legal problems slowly mount until he is arrested and brought to trial, where he pleads to be judged not as a human, or as an animal, but as an individual. The author writes in a detached, quasi-scientific style that underlines the inevitability of his hero's fate, while the black-and-white, slightly blurry lithographs that illustrate the story underscore Mr. Thundermug's anomalous status. Teens will appreciate the protagonist's desire to be treated as an individual and sympathize with his efforts to fit into a society whose conventions seem designed to exclude him. The provocative questions raised in this book make it a good choice for book discussion groups.–Sandy Schmitz, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061146129
  • ASIN: B0041T4NO0
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,756,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trebor Nodgarb on June 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this after hearing a review on NPR. I love the book and have passed it around several friends. Everyone loved the story. We all tried to put the old "deeper meaning" on it. My take was that maybe this is a vehicle to think about relationships. All that being said just sit back and enjoy it.
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Format: Hardcover
Cornelius Medvei's Mr. Thundermug: A Novel is an imaginative short novel chronicling the life of Mr. Thundermug, a baboon who inexplicably learns how to speak English. This is another of the books I am reading as part of the Irresistible Review Challenge.

I originally found the review for this book at Diary of an Eccentric, which is listed as book 38, I believe, in the recap. What a great look at the life of a Baboon as a human, or should I say ape in a human world.

***Spoiler Alert***

Mr. Thundermug, his wife, and his two children, Angus and Trudy, are all given names by Mr. Thundermug. The baboon soon realizes that he is the only one in the family able to speak and understand English when it is spoken. Through a series of run-ins with the Council on Housing, Thundermug soon comes to realize that he is governed by two contrary standards--that of human law and natural law.

His grasp of speech amazes many, while others ignore the baboon who speaks their language as if he were a figment of their imagination. I wonder if this book is another look at discrimination, but at the same time I wonder if there is another meaning altogether. Perhaps as humans we are not as superior to animals as we would like to suggest or believe. Perhaps they are wiser than we are.

***End Spoiler Alert***

It's interesting to see a study of animal conditions from another perspective, rather than the human entering the world of the gorilla, for instance. The baboon enters the world of humanity and what he learns is striking.
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Format: Hardcover
Honestly with all the things that one tolerates and deals with on a day-to-day basis, you'd think a talking monkey would be a welcome break. In this book it's not so much a break but just more filler to keep you moving. Albeit chuckling on the way.

The book records the quirky and light-hearted account of a truly fantastic event. Unfortunately, like our everyday lives, the fantastic event is blunted and barely noticed; here by the monkey's absentminded musings and the people's disregard for such a happening in lieu of other seemingly more important matters (though one man does notice).

Anyway, I got this book for a buck while waiting for the bus. It's short length was perfect for my long bus rides that day. As a quick read, it was just what I wanted. Don't expect much character development, but then again development is kind of besides the point. This book does a great job engaging the here-and-now. In this way it deals with the fantastic occurrence of a speaking monkey with the same tone as your every-day bus ride. I'll read it again one of these days.
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