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Extended Audio Sample The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, by Benjamin Hale Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,523 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Benjamin Hale Narrator: Robert Petkof Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Hale’s Bruno is smart and inclined to archness and irony, and it’s a pleasure to follow his thoughts, darkling and otherwise…a book of considerable merit…As much fun as a barrel of monkeys.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This novel holds a remarkable, riotous mirror to mankind.”


  • “A tragicomedy that makes you want to jump up on the furniture and beat your chest…Hale wraps his prehensile wit around humanity’s deepest philosophical questions. From the magic of consciousness to the reifying function of language, the value of art and the morality of science, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is a brilliant, unruly brute of a book…When the novel’s antics aren’t making you giggle, its pathos is making you cry, and its existential predicament is always making you think.”

    Washington Post

  • “One need only read a few pages to be swept up by the grandeur of Hale’s ebullient prose…It’s Bruno’s distinct voice, more than debating points, that wins us over.”


  • “It throbs with energy and boils with passion as it expresses a dark vision of our essential nature that strikes uncomfortably home.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is a major accomplishment. A lively page-turner that asks the big questions head on and doesn’t shy away from controversy, Hale’s first novel is a noisy, audacious and promising debut.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • Selected for the February 2011 Indie Next List
  • Selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2011 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julie | 2/16/2014

    " Interesting, bizarre, ultimately worth a read, but not spectacular. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julia | 2/11/2014

    " I can't dispute that the story is original. And if a story's success can be determined by how uncomfortable it makes you, then this one is a winner. Seriously, it's written very, very well, and I appreciated the originality, but the sex parts grossed me out (and I'm no prude). I couldn't understand how the female lead could allow herself to fall in love with a chimp, no matter how evolved he might be. But the idea that a chimp could evolve enough to speak English was well laid out and believable. In all, I'm glad I read it because I like to expand my literary horizons, but it won't be one of those books that I re-read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Christopher | 1/27/2014

    " Creeped me out...in a good way, i guess...monkey on woman sex scene is a little strange... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Meghan | 1/20/2014

    " I loved this book - dry, funny, dark, and interesting. I can't recommend it enough. "

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About the Author
Author Benjamin Hale

Benjamin Hale is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, where he received a Provost’s Fellowship to complete his first novel, which also went on to win a Michener-Copernicus Award. He has been a night shift baker, a security guard, a trompe l’oeil painter, a pizza deliverer, a cartoonist, an illustrator and a technical writer. He grew up in Colorado and now lives in New York.