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The Man I Became by Peter Verhelst
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The Man I Became (2013)

by Peter Verhelst

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412433,561 (3.5)2
In his latest novel, Peter Verhelst know aesthetic again onge√®evenaarde way to reconcile with the engagement. He grabs the reader with both hands to never let him go: "The Broken Hearted comforting: I am not need to understand myself or the words, but that there are words. Who understand me. "History of a mountain "is set in Dream Land. Are gorillas, but giraffes, buffaloes, lions, and fish, in this parallel universe forced to civilization. Through the eyes of such a man become beast we experience the action of Dream Land from the inside. When this creature may finally be called a full man, comes to a hellish climax which nature and culture into battle. This story holds the triumph of man against the light.… (more)
  1. 00
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (rrmmff2000)
    rrmmff2000: Otherly stories of characters being forced against their nature and only being partly accepted by society.
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"I already had one gold D on my jacket. People with two ... were fully fledged humans"
By sally tarbox on 14 December 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Narrated by a gorilla, he tells of his dim memories of life before capture: the heat, catching termites, swinging from the branches with others of his troop. Then he was drugged and taken to the New World: and here the reader will immediately see parallels with slavery, as the animals are roped together and transported in filth, the feebler specimens eradicated on the way.
A totally new life opens up as he begins to work at Dreamworld, a vast, Disneyesque extravaganza. The gorillas are taught to behave like humans, to dress, to speak and to socialize. Any animal who falls short of the necessary perfection just disappears. But for those who conform, there are perks - a flat, a mobile phone, ribbons to befit their rise in the ranks. Again there are parallels with all of our lives, as society trains us to fit in, to make small talk, to follow certain standards - with the risk of being 'cut off' if we go against the norms.

It's a clever concept; but I can't say I enjoyed it particularly, despite recognising its literary merit. ( )
  starbox | Dec 13, 2016 |
A novella narrated by a gorilla, forced into a recklessly accelerated evolution, ends up working at an amusement park. The book is as strange as it sounds, and there is a huge amount to be read into its mere 120 pages. At least the following are touched upon: ego versus id; disneyfication; colonialism; child-rearing; slavery; refugees; the immigrant experience. But while there appears to be an unstoppable momentum to civilise, above all the book reminds us that this can fall away at a moment, and that we still need the more fundamental simple things (family, love, perspective, quiet, beauty, ...) to make our lives meaningful and humane.

This is the first in Peirene Press's 2016 series themed around "fairy tale: end of innocence" and is translated by David Colmer. I can't think of a better fit to the theme: a dark otherly literary tale, rich in meaning, which is both of the modern age and of all human time. ( )
1 vote rrmmff2000 | Dec 4, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Verhelstprimary authorall editionscalculated
Colmer, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There was a time when I couldn't even talk.
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An impressively entertaining tale about the frailty of our civilisation by the leading Flemish writer Peter Verhelst. Warning: this story is narrated by a gorilla. He is plucked from the jungle. He learns to chat and passes the ultimate test: a cocktail party. Eventually he is moved to an amusement park, where he acts in a show about the history of civilization. But as the gorilla becomes increasingly aware of human weaknesses, he must choose between his instincts and his training, between principles and self-preservation.
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