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Great Apes (Will Self) Paperback – August 11, 1998
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(updated from my anonymous review)
If you like shock value go no further and I'm sure greater minds than mine will find plenty of depth and satire. Freak out your bookclub and get them in to this!
Self's conceit is a brilliant one to send up many of the foibles and delusious of what he calls the 'self enclosed humanism' of trendy metropolitan types. The sophisticated veneer that veils squalid sexual desires. The rumbunctious lovemaking of young Londoners - snaffling down on each other's pongid scrags. The pant hooting, brachiating, 'uu-graaa' noises that don't really seeem that different from the movements and sounds of human London.
Basically Self wants to explode the myth that there is something unique and distinctive about humankind. We are nothing but beasts, with the rest of the animal kingdom, and the sophisticated hierarchies and systems we set up are nothing more than incarnations of the Alpha, beta and gamma tiers of the ape kingdom. Like Swift, Self uses gags, outrageous conceits - and a lavish dose of visceral language - to come at society from a unique angle. And send it up with much needed ruthlessness.