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The Monkey House Hardcover – July 30, 1996

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Branston Flett is a famous American journalist who comes to wartime Sarajevo with the intent of covering the ethnic conflict. But what he discovers is the netherworld of a city gone mad. A police informant is found drowned in a bathtub of a building that rarely has water. The building is in a Serb enclave detested by the Croats. A Croatian detective with a Serbian wife is suspicious. Meanwhile gunfire, mortar, and artillery ring through the city. People are starving; others are dying. War story, crime thriller, tale of urban decay, The Monkey House is a powerful book.

From Publishers Weekly

Wartorn Sarajevo provides the setting for this gripping, atmospheric thriller in the tradition of le Carre and Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. Police superintendent Rosso, a Croat and Sarajevo's "top cop," returns home from Zagreb to learn of a recent murder his ill-equipped, understaffed detective squad hasn't even bothered to investigate: of a Serbian dentist?and sometime police informant?found dead in her bathtub. Luka, a dangerous warlord and black marketeer, is Rosso's top suspect, but Rosso's authority is mostly a memory of peacetime, while Luka's troops are active throughout the city. Nor can Rosso expect much help from the citizenry?what is one more murder in a city engulfed by violence and death? Rosso's Serbian wife suggests he drop the matter as she hides in a haze of alcoholism and fear. Their Muslim goddaughter, Tanja?who may be having an affair with Luka?also urges caution. But Rosso must stand against this rampant amorality, for very personal reasons, for his family and for his homeland. Fullerton, a Reuters reporter, steers clear of trying to explain the Bosnian conflict. Instead, he brings it to life through the hardships and dangers his characters accept as daily routine?just as, in this engaging and timely first novel, he dramatizes personal relationships every bit as thorny as the politics that have ravaged a once beautiful land. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (July 30, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517706601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517706602
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,482,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Fullerton is the author of five novels and six books. A former Reuters journalist, he has worked in 38 countries and covered a dozen wars in Africa, Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East. He was born in the UK but attended boarding school in South Africa where he first started work on a local newspaper during the apartheid era. He is married with two children and divides his time between Britain and southeast Asia.
His books include: The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, The Monkey House, Clap (pseudonymous), A Hostile Place, Give Me Death/This Green Land and White Boys Don't Cry.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on October 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Rosso, an honest cop in wartorn Sarajevo, tries to solve the murder of a police informant. Meanwhile, the Serbs are attacking the city, his detectives are mostly corrupt or stoned, his wife is drinking anything she can get her hands on & his sort-of-adopted daughter is cavorting with a Croat strongman.
Fullerton was a foreign correspondent & covered the war in Bosnia. He vividly portrays the desperation of life in the war zone and the near lawlessness of Sarajevo adds additional tension to a fairly straightforward mystery. GRADE: B-
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James A. Bretney on September 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I thought it was a pretty good story. The prose is functional not elegant. But the story informs by enertaining. I thought Fullerton's Russo convincing. My thoughts return to Dennis Quaid in Savior and my expereinces in the placid atomosphere of Romania. I'm thinking about giving this book as someone's Christmas present.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard Ballard on May 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
John Fullerton's excellent book "The Monkey House" clearly describes civilian hardship in Sarajevo during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. The author paints his story in shades of grey -- there are no highlights for civilians during wartime. Finding food and shelter while battling constant fear is exhausting. Decency is subordinated to staying alive, and patriotism is a luxury. Wartime permanently mars survivors. The attitudes survivors learn remain with them, and these attitudes affect survivors for the rest of their lives.
This book describes police superintendent Rosso's investigation of a murder. The murder was ordered by a successful gangster, drug smuggler, and profiteer whose gang acts as wartorn Sarajevo's civilian militia. A subplot describes an American reporter's experiences in Sarajevo, and contrasts the reporter's affluent lifestyle with the lives of those around him. The Bosnian settling is relevant today because UN peacekeeping efforts continue in Bosnia today.
John Fullerton has portrayed war's long-lasting hardship within a clearly written and interesting novel, an impressive accomplishment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Being a Sarajevan myself, I was sceptical about outsiders writing about my city and my war, However J. Fullerton did it very well. It is not a book one can enjoy , but it is a true book . I would recommend it to those who prefer truth to convenience.
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Format: Hardcover
I had my doubts about a detective story being set in wartime Sarajevo, but Fullerton pulled it off with flying colors. He used his experiences as a correspondent during the war to create the setting for this novel about a detective investigating a brutal murder in a city under siege. The story is also loosely based on the Bosnian government's actual crackdown on Sarajevo's warlord militia leaders in late 1993. Fullerton weaves a fantastic story which brilliantly depicts some of the many aspects of wartime Sarajevo: the multiethnic character of the city and the fraying of interethnic tolerance as the war dragged on, the hardship and gruelling monotony of daily life and survival in Sarajevo, the blurring of lines between good and evil as the leaders of Sarajevo's prewar criminal underworld became its chief wartime defenders, the voyeuristic role played by foreign correspondents in the city, etc. All of this is adeptly merged with the story, so "The Monkey House" never falls into extended preachy tracts or historical discourse. Never dull, and never pretty, this is a dark, brooding and harsh novel - and one of the best literary descriptions of Sarajevo under siege. It's only unfoturnate that the book is not available in mass market paperback format in the U.S.
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By kindale on January 12, 2014
Format: Audible Audio Edition
I really enjoyed this book. The writing is fantastic. The author does a great job of portraying the desperation and hopelessness of a country at war and the people who exploit it for financial gain. I don't really understand why these people were fighting because I'm American. We have learned to live somewhat peacefully with others who look different , come from other places and believe in different things. Books like the Monkey House teach me to treasure what I have here in the U.S. It may not always be perfect here but it could be a hell of a lot worse.
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By keetmom on December 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
John Fullerton was a war correspondent who covered the full horrors of the Bosnian war. For anyone who has wondered what life was like for the people trapped in shattered Sarajevo, this intense police procedural provides every macabre detail. Sometimes the plot is a little difficult to follow as the intricacies of the ethnic factions in this most brutal of civil wars are complex, but "The Monkey House" is a chilling and unforgettable read.
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