Theory of Bastards

Theory of Bastards

Book - 2018
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"Stage four. Surgery. Recovering." While those are the simple words that once described Dr. Francine Burk's situation, the reality is much more complex. Her new reality is feeling unduly thrilled by her increasing ability to walk across a room without assistance. And it's being offered a placement at a prestigious research institute where she can put to good use her recent award money. With the Foundation's advanced technological resources and a group of fascinating primates, Francine can begin to verify her subversive scientific discovery, which has challenged the foundations of history--her Theory of Bastards. Frankie finds that the bonobos she's studying are as complex as the humans she's working alongside. Their personalities are strong and distinct, and reigning over it all is Mama, the commanding matriarchal leader of the group. Frankie comes to know the bonobos and to further develop her groundbreaking theory with the help of her research partner, a man with a complicated past and perhaps a place in her future. And then something changes everything, and the lines that divide them--between subject and scientist, between colleague and companion--begin to blur.
Publisher: [New York, N.Y.] : Europa Editions, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781609454371
Branch Call Number: FIC SCHULMAN, A.
Characteristics: 403 pages ; 21 cm


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Jul 04, 2019

“…each important moment in life has about it a stillness, an extra beat, and awareness of the edges.”
This 397-page slightly futuristic novel, followed by a five page research appendix, begins as interesting and gradually become dangerous in that the reader becomes very emotionally invested in its characters and their fates: Dr. Francine (Frankie) Burk recovering from surgery to correct a life-long illness; David Stotts , the caretaker at an animal research facility not far from Kansas City; and 14 bonobo apes.
We get to know all of them quite well. The detailed mating habits of the bonobos initially may be TMI for some readers, but necessary to understanding them. Schulman is quite good (this is her 5th novel) at ratcheting up tension and what little violence does occur is all the more intense due to her skilled manipulation of us readers into investing our humanity into all of the characters.
Whether you are a science nerd, a lover of a well-told story, or a reader who likes to be grabbed by the wet-wear between your ears, this novel is for you.
May Audrey Schulman continue writing books that remind us of our humanity, tug at our heartstrings, illuminate the creatures we cohabitate with on this lone planet, and emphatically state the wonders and appreciation that science can bring into our lives.

Sep 20, 2018

My favorite book of the year so far. I didn't think anything would knock off Clade by James Bradley, But Theory of Bastards has everything- great characters, good tension lines, deeply funny, not to mention the plot. I really like speculative fiction, which for me means stories set in the very near future, ten to twenty years in the future, and Schulman is in full possession of her story. I have got her other books coming, and I can't wait.

Aug 03, 2018

Together at last: primate research and postapocalyptic fiction. There's also a lot about endometriosis. But it all holds together with several fascinating characters, both humans and bonobos.


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