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The Woman and the Ape
by Peter Høeg

Synopsis: The Woman and the Ape is the story of a unique and unforgettable couple - Madelene and Erasmus. Madelene - a sleeping beauty drowsing gently in an alcoholic stupor - is the beautiful and disillusioned wife of Adam Burden, a distinguished behavioural scientist. Erasmus, the unlikely prince, is a 300-pound ape.

Erasmus is brought to the Burdens' London home after escaping from animal smugglers. In him, Adam Burden believes he has discovered a hitherto unknown mammal, a highly intelligent anthropoid ape, the closest thing yet to a human being. If he is right, Erasmus will become the jewel of Burden's new zoo. But Madelene decides to save Erasmus, investing in her efforts all the single-mindedness she until now has reserved for drinking. The two fall in love - a love affair as emotionally and erotically charged as any female-male relationship could ever be. But Erasmus has come to England with a purpose, and eventually the couple must face the world they have sought to flee.

A fable for our time, The Woman and the Ape poses searching questions about the nature of love, freedom, and humanity. It combines the farcical humour of a Marx Brothers movie with the magic of a fairy tale and the pace of a thriller.

First Line: An ape was approaching London.

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