APELAND by Paul Allen


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Once a year or so there's a first novel with a lot going for it even if you're unsure of its designation. Like John Sayles' Pride of the Bimbos (1975). Apeland takes place in a different southern sumphole, Venice, Florida, site of a one-bit Jungle Habitat--a few chimps, a gorilla that went ape earlier, and now another one, Margayet, who's ""fuck crazy"" and escapes. Prefatory to that there's a fine scene-setter in which an old lady, Cornfield, who's lost what little sense she may once have had, takes her kitty to the taxidermist, Walker, to be mounted. Now Walker's got his eye on Margaret if the posse which is organized can't bring her back alive. They don't, and another casualty is Cornfield's grandson at the hands of his brother whose gun connects with the wrong target. The ""excitement"" for which they've all been waiting for years has finally happened and what's left? Just the rain and the palmettos and the jock rot and the frozen hamburgers and the tourist attractions like GORILLA GUANO $ BAG and the hopelessness which is projected with gritty, redolent actuality. Allen has a clean drive and a punchy shaft--you can't mistake his palpable talent.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1976
Publisher: Viking