Talk to Me: A Novel (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
Talk to Me: A Novel Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
7 on hand, as of Oct 20 2:04pm

Staff Reviews

Recently divorced college professor Guy Schermerhorn is an animal behaviorist raising chimpanzee Sam as a human child. Sam effectively communicates via sign language, joking, conniving and lying. Boyle raises the question of animal consciousness: do animals have morals? Souls? This sometimes comic, sometimes dark tale combines campus drama and a road trip for an entertaining page-turner.

— Patsy


From bestselling and award-winning author T.C. Boyle, a lively, thought-provoking novel that asks us what it would be like if we could really talk to the animals

When animal behaviorist Guy Schermerhorn demonstrates on a TV game show that he has taught Sam, his juvenile chimp, to speak in sign language, Aimee Villard, an undergraduate at Guy's university, is so taken with the performance that she applies to become his assistant.  A romantic and intellectual attachment soon morphs into an interspecies love triangle that pushes hard at the boundaries of consciousness and the question of what we know and how we know it.  

What if it were possible to speak to the members of another species—to converse with them, not just give commands or coach them but to really have an exchange of ideas and a meeting of minds? Did apes have God?  Did they have souls?  Did they know about death and redemption?  About prayer?  The economy, rockets, space?  Did they miss the jungle?  Did they even know what the jungle was?  Did they dream?  Make wishes?  Hope for the future?

These are some the questions T.C. Boyle asks in his wide-ranging and hilarious new novel Talk to Me, exploring  what it means to be human, to communicate with another, and to truly know another person—or animal… 

About the Author

T.C. Boyle has published fourteen novels and ten collections of short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his novel World’s End, and the Prix Médicis étranger for The Tortilla Curtain in 1995, as well as the 2014 Henry David Thoreau award for excellence in nature writing. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California and lives in Santa Barbara.

Praise For…

“The novel is one of Boyle’s recent best…the virtuoso…[Boyle’s] masterly storytelling and shrewd social commentary have much in common with Charles Dickens; his laid-back, colloquial prose is maximalist rather than minimalist, with a touch of acute satire...If you’re willing to suspend your disbelief about anthropomorphism, you’ll enjoy this gripping and inescapably bittersweet book.”
Boston Globe

"Talk to Me—told alternately from the point of view of the human and chimp characters—finds a sensitive issue and dives deep into an exploration that locks on and won’t let go. . . . Against a backdrop of lurid news stories of chimps living with humans, where things go horribly wrong, this novel makes a visceral kind of sense and raises uncomfortable issues of human relationships with other species. Highly recommended."
Library Journal (starred review)

“ If the measure of a good story is how often you think about it after you are done, then Talk to Me . . . hits the mark. . . . Talk to Me feels real and relevant ”
— BookTrib

“Boyle eloquently lays out the philosophical and ethical debates of raising chimps in a human household…Boyle poignantly exposes our anthropocentric biases while exploring the nature of consciousness and reminds us of the adage about the most dangerous species in the zoo being the humans.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063052857
ISBN-10: 0063052857
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Pages: 352
Language: English

Book listings on our website do not always reflect the current availability of books on our store shelves. Check a book's in-store availability beneath the "add to cart" button. Or to be certain that a book you've found on our website is also here on our shelves, feel free to call us at 615-953-2243.