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Some Great Thing by Colin McAdam
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Some Great Thing

Best Seller
Some Great Thing by Colin McAdam
Paperback $17.00
Oct 21, 2014 | ISBN 9781616954437

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  • Oct 21, 2014 | ISBN 9781616954437

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Praise for Some Great Thing

“The novel presents many voices, all of them mesmerizing . . . McAdam displays a superb ear for dialogue.”
—The Washington Post

“A powerful, poetic, bawdily funny, and tenderly sad novel about class, about love, about drink, about poetics, about land, and about money—a few of the salient things that life and history are made of.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“This brash, ribald first novel bursts with energy and spirit . . . Some Great Thing is a boisterous, uncompromising debut.”

“McAdam’s narrative weaves in virtuoso dialogue as well as genuine warmth . . . This is a big and staggeringly confident book.”
—The Observer

“Compelling . . . Technical prowess and a surprising empathy mark McAdam as a writer to watch.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“McAdam’s debut flexes considerable muscle.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for A Beautiful Truth

“Remarkable . . . disarmingly familiar and richly, movingly strange.”
—The Wall Street Journal

“If A Beautiful Truth lingers long after it is read—and I promise you, it will—it’s because even as Looee becomes a son for Walt and Judy, he becomes for the rest of us a heartbreaking guide to how we treat our closest living relatives.”
Barbara J. King, author of How Animals Grieve writing for the Washington Post

A Beautiful Truth does an amazing job at telling the stories of chimpanzees in captivity today and it also helps people understand why these amazing souls should be loved, respected and protected in their natural habitat. We hope everyone reads this book and comes to see Chimpanzees as we do.”
—Jo Sullivan, Executive Director of Save the Chimps

“McAdam’s language reaches into that mysterious place where a word ends and a feeling begins. A Beautiful Truth is a story about love and beauty and our dreams for our children and our inescapable loneliness. The characters, human and animal, are sad and honest and true. I could not put this novel down, and only when I finished it could I breathe again.”
—Kim Echlin, author of The Disappeared

“A work of exquisite sensitivity and prowess, McAdams’ tale is of two species astride not a divide but a continuum, of our longings and resiliencies and the fate we share: being stronger than we are evolved.”
Alex Shakar, author of Luminarium

“Haunting. Heartbreaking . . . It is a tale of empathy and honesty, deftly told and beautifully rendered.”
—Will Ferguson, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of 419

“As brutal as it is compassionate, A Beautiful Truth collapses the gaps between humans and chimpanzees, bringing us ever closer to the recognition that what we do to the chimps in our care has the moral power to indict us or to set us free, for in so many ways they are us and we are them.”
Matt Bell, author of Appleseed

“McAdam teases and turns around language, giving us a creative and wondrous portrait of nonhuman society from the inside out.” 

“If the book were simply the story of the Ribkes and Looee, A Beautiful Truth would still be a remarkable achievement. But the narrative’s radical other half, which unfolds in loosely alternate chapters and focuses on a group of chimpanzees in a Florida research institute, invoking their perspective, lends the novel a rare depth . . . McAdam’s acknowledgements attest to serious secondary reading—Frans de Waal and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh are both cited—but his depiction of simian life’s limitations turns research into rhapsodic lamentation.”
—The Times Literary Supplement

“[A BEAUTIFUL TRUTH] deftly explores the mind of a domesticated ape…a serious, thoughtful piece of work.”
—The Telegraph

“The narrative [of A BEAUTIFUL TRUTH] doesn’t just show humans interacting with primates. Inventively, McAdam, gives them a narrative voice and point of view…the effect is jarring. McAdam has had to create a new language.”
—The Scotsman

“Kafka’s sketch [A Report to an Academy] is an enduring satire on the kinship between humans and primates. McAdam’s novel is an earnest, daring and insistent attempt to show the moral implications of that kinship.”
Toronto Globe and Mail, Best Book of the Year Selection

“A moving, deeply researched novel.”
—Tampa Bay Times

A Beautiful Truth manages to parlay long established and widely disseminated scientific and anthropological facts into gripping and thought-provoking fiction… [McAdam] clearly conducted much research for this book.” 
—The Miami Herald

“Splendid….McAdam explores the unhappy history of humans adopting chimpanzees as playthings, curios and family members. Yet in a year when the National Institutes of Health has begun to formally retire its roster of medical-research chimps, McAdam’s novel also sounds an elegy for the chimpanzees who spent their lives in laboratories… At its heart, “A Beautiful Truth” is about voice – who’s talking, who’s listening, what’s understood and what’s not. McAdam makes his novel special by getting inside many heads, especially the chimps’.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“One might expect the chimp point of view to be distracting, but it speaks to McAdam’s talents that they become the most compelling parts of A Beautiful Truth… It’s a dark lesson in family, parenting, and community — the way we impose our ideals on others seems to be the beautiful and horrible truth of human nature.” 

“Colin McAdam’s book may be a novel, but it’s still based on intense research. On a surface level, it tells the stories you’ve heard about before— the childless couple who decides to adopt a baby chimpanzee, the devoted scientist who communicates with chimps in labs, the process of studying pharmaceuticals on primates. But what makes A Beautiful Truth unique is its sincerity, its honesty, and its heart.”  
Greta Johnsen, WCQS Asheville

The portrayal of chimpanzees as individuals with memories isn’t just a fictional device; the commonality of human and chimpanzee conceived here is achieved not by eliminating the traits that divide them but by illuminating the differences that unite them…. With concise language, this heartbreaking tale of loneliness and remembrance reminds us that understanding is a process of growth and experience.”
Library Journal, Starred Review

“[A Beautiful Truth] is grounded in solid research on chimp behavior that, along with McAdam’s distinctive poetic prose, informs readers while enriching a deeply moving story.” 

A Beautiful Truth is extraordinary, rather beautiful, and experimental.” 
—Herald Scotland

“[A] sure-handed and mature work, expertly weaving together shifts in voice and point of view and making use of a poetic language full of direct, sensual metaphors….There are no platitudes about the power of love and our need to feel for one another, but rather an understanding of how sad and damaging a business love frequently is.”
The Toronto Star

“McAdam has a poetic, impressionistic style, and a sense of humour, and the resulting fantasy is convincing and strangely melancholy.”
—Toronto Globe and Mail

“McAdam does a surprisingly thorough job of dispelling the idea that Looee and the other primates in the novel are just lumbering, dumb animals… Heart-wrenching. “ 

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