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A Beautiful Truth Audiobook, by Colin McAdam Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Colin McAdam Narrator: Joe Barrett Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2013 ISBN: 9781482909258
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Told simultaneously from the perspective of humans and chimpanzees, A Beautiful Truth—at times brutal, other times deeply moving—is about the simple truths that transcend species, the meaning of family, the lure of belonging, and the capacity for survival.

Looeeis forever set apart, a chimp raised by a well-meaning and compassionate human couple in Vermont who cannot conceive a baby of their own. He’s not human, but with his peculiar upbringing he is no longer like other chimps. One tragic night Looee’s two natures collide, and this unique family is forever changed.

At the Girdish Institute in Florida, a group of chimpanzees has been studied for decades. The work at Girdish has proved that chimps have memories and solve problems, that they can learn language and need friends, and that they build complex cultures. They are political, altruistic, and capable of anger and forgiveness. When Looee is moved to the institute, he is forced to try to find a place in this new world.

A Beautiful Truth is an epic and heartfelt story about parenthood, friendship, loneliness, fear, and conflict, about the things we hold sacred as humans and how much we have in common with our animal relatives. A novel of great heart and wisdom from a literary master, it exposes the yearnings, cruelty, and resilience of all great apes.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Haunting. Heartbreaking…It is a tale of empathy and honesty, deftly told and beautifully rendered.”

    Will Ferguson, Giller Prize–winning author of 419

  • “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.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “[A] gut punch of a novel…that’s going to get a lot of people talking. And crying.”

    Toronto Life

  • “Award-winning Canadian novelist McAdam has created a robust tale of love, loss, and the complexities of being alive…With concise language, this heartbreaking tale of loneliness and remembrance reminds us that understanding is a process of growth and experience. Readers who enjoyed Benjamin Hale’s The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore will find familiar themes working in McAdam’s latest.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “McAdam investigates the social dynamics of great apes within the cages of a Florida research institute…Brimming with ambition, McAdam delivers a thought-provoking foray into the not-so-dissimilar minds of our ape relatives.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Joe Barrett’s folksy voice is a great choice for this unusual audiobook…Barrett moves confidently between the family’s nontraditional home and a Florida research institute that specializes in primates. He’s comfortable with the author’s style, which ranges from complex narrative to simple primate-inspired sentences…Barrett is the kind of narrator anyone can embrace.”


  • “Captivating…Grounded in solid research on chimp behavior that, along with McAdam’s distinctive poetic prose, informs readers while enriching a deeply moving story.”


  • “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

  • Winner of the 2013 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

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About the Author

Colin McAdam’s debut novel, Some Great Thing, won the Amazon First Novel Award in Canada and was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His second novel, Fall, was short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was awarded the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize. He has written for Harper’s and lives in Toronto.

About the Narrator

Joe Barrett, an actor and Audie Award and Earphones Award–winning narrator, has appeared both on and off Broadway as well as in hundreds of radio and television commercials.