Novel of the Apes: On T.C. Boyle's Talk To Me, Amitav Ghosh, and Animals in Fiction

In T.C.Boyle's 2021 novel Talk To Me, one of the main characters is a chimpanzee. It's a fascinating study in how humans respond to other apes, and an ambitious experiment in imagining what it might be like to be one. Using the novel as a starting point, in this solo episode I explore whether learning to love chimpanzees can help break down the human/animal divide, and how Boyle's portrayal of Sam the chimpanzee differs from other novels about animals. I also draw on Amitav Ghosh's The Nutmeg's Curse to argue for the importance of giving voice to nonhuman characters in fiction, and the unique role stories are able to play.

Learn more about Talk to Me here:

Learn more about The Nutmeg's Curse:

Read an excerpt of The Nutmeg's Curse on brutes and storytelling animals (how this podcast got its name):

Read the essay I mentioned on orangutans:

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