When animal behaviorist Guy Schermerhorn demonstrates on a TV game show that he has taught Sam, his juvenile chimp, to speak in sign language, an undergraduate at Guy’s university is so taken with the performance that she applies to become his assistant.
An intellectual attachment soon morphs into an interspecies love triangle that pushes at the boundaries of consciousness and the question of what we know and how we know it.
What if it were possible to speak to the members of another species — to converse with them, not just give commands or coach them, but to really have an exchange of ideas and a meeting of minds? Did apes have God? Pray? Know about economy, rockets, space? Dream? Make wishes or have hopes for the future? Did they miss the jungle? Did they even know what the jungle was?
These are just some of the questions Boyle asks in his hilarious new novel that often stars the chimp’ s point of view.