Mister Monkey: A Novel by Francine Prose
Published by Harper on October 18th 2016
Format: Hard cover, soft cover
The acclaimed bestselling author weaves an ingenious, darkly humorous, and brilliantly observant story that follows the exploits and intrigue of a constellation of characters affiliated with an off-off-off-off Broadway children’s musical
Mister Monkey—a screwball children’s musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee—is the kind of family favorite that survives far past its prime. Margot, who plays the chimp’s lawyer, knows the production is dreadful, and bemoans the failure of her acting career. She’s settled into the drudgery of playing a humiliating part—until the day she receives a mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer . . . and later, in the middle of a performance, has a shocking encounter with Adam, the twelve-year-old who plays the title role.
Francine Prose’s effervescent comedy is told from the viewpoints of wildly unreliable, seemingly disparate characters whose lives become deeply connected as the madcap narrative unfolds. There is Adam, whose looming adolescence informs his interpretation of his role; Edward, a young audience member who is candidly unimpressed with the play; Lakshmi, the musical’s costume designer, who imagines herself the hero of her own production; Ray, the author of the novel on which the musical is based, who witnesses one of the most awkward first dates in literature; and even the eponymous Mister Monkey, the Monkey God himself.
With her trademark wit and verve, Prose touches on everything from the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin to the absurdity of child-raising in contemporary Brooklyn, and eventually delves into humanity’s most profound mysteries: art, ambition, childhood, aging, and love. Startling, captivating, Mister Monkey is a breathtaking novel from a writer at the height of her craft.
Look what I found on the front stoop this morning as I was coming back from errands!
Harper Collins was nice enough to send an advanced reading copy of Mister Monkey by Francine Prose (due out October 18th) and a hardcover copy of Helen Sedwick’s debut novel, The Comet Seekers (due out October 11th). Just in time, as I’m hopping on a plane tomorrow. I think I’ll save the hardcover for my return (so I don’t have to lug it across the country with me). So Francine Prose, it looks like it’s up to you to entertain me.