The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore

  • by Benjamin Hale
  • Narrated by Robert Petkoff
  • 20 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Bruno Littlemore is quite unlike any chimpanzee in the world. Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in a habitat at the local zoo, falls under the care of a university primatologist named Lydia Littlemore. Learning of Bruno's ability to speak, Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges. His untimely outbursts ultimately cost Lydia her job, and send the unlikely pair on the road in what proves to be one of the most unforgettable journeys -- and most affecting love stories -- in recent literature.
Like its protagonist, this novel is big, loud, abrasive, witty, perverse, earnest, and amazingly accomplished. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore goes beyond satire by showing us not what it means, but what it feels like be human - to love and lose, learn, aspire, grasp, and, in the end, to fail.


Audible Editor Reviews

This intriguing novel is narrated by a chimpanzee — but not just any chimpanzee. Bruno Littlemore, with a high-brow and hilariously pompous attitude, is the first chimpanzee to conquer human speech. He’s confined to an institution in Florida where he’s dictating his memoirs to a stenographer named Gwen. Born into captivity in a zoo, he’s later transferred to a research facility in Chicago when it’s learned through an experiment that he’s a bit different than other chimps. There he meets Lydia Littlemore, who decides to take him in as her own and let him live at her house. Eventually the two become involved romantically — and then, sexually. Disturbing? Yes. But also strangely… sweet.
Robert Petkoff as Bruno adapts a scholarly tone with a melodic enunciation of each word. He’s so convincing, there is no doubt that if a chimpanzee could speak, he would sound exactly like Petkoff. His affectations when taking on the characters of Lydia and others throughout the novel are equally skillful. But what really sets him apart from other narrators may be the recitation of animal vocals — his chimpanzee squawks and guttural grunts would easily persuade a chimpanzee that he was of like DNA. Bruno is, if nothing else, a detailed storyteller (he drones on for at least 10 minutes about the appearance of a janitor in the research facility). This has the potential to get tiresome, but Petkoff’s sense of timing and drama combined with the vocabulary talent of author Benjamin Hale manage to make the minutiae come alive, so that descriptions are craved and not dreaded.
The plotline of Bruno Littlemore is so creative and far-fetched, yet simultaneously so intensely real and believable — the hallmark of genius story-telling. —Colleen Oakley


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Prepare To Be Dazzled!

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is an amazing novel. It is often hilarious, occasionally revolting and never stops asking, "What exactly does it mean to be human?"

Bruno Littlemore experiences life on both sides of the glass wall that separates the chimpanzees from the visitors at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. That unique perspective is what makes this book so wonderful.

This is Benjamin Hale's first novel and he's created something very special. Robert Petkoff does a tremendous job reading the book.

This is the kind of book I will listen to again and again and every time find something new and amazing.

Do yourself a favor and get this book. And once you've read it, tell all your friends about it. I have.
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- Casey "Hi! I'm Casey Keller, semi-retired TV writer, avid cyclist, husband and father. I'm also a guy who devours audio books."

Bruno, what a life you lived!?!

Some of the topics of this book were a bit crude at first, but if you truly look at this story as a what if and let your logic go then it is truly enjoyable. I know we as humans don't know all there is to know, so maybe. I really recommend this book to all who truly love fiction.
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- Marjory

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-02-2011
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio