Apeland - Paull AllenApeland

Huddled in her hot cage in a run-down roadside menagerie called Apeland, Margaret, a thousand-pound female gorilla, hoots unhappily for her dead mate. Just up the road, at the taxidermist’s shop, an old lady is paying for having her kittycat stuffed. Down the road a subdivision is going up in the middle of the Florida wilderness. Men dig foundations. Poor, bored, and mosquito-bitten, they wait hopelessly for a little excitement, a fight, a hurricane—anything.

It comes when Margaret escapes into the steaming forest. The county sheriff quickly assembles a posse of local characters and leads this bizarre collection of heavily armed crazies into the palmetto and cypress jungle after the love-starved ape. Among the group are Ed Bias, the would-be hero, and his two young sons; Gaylord Miler, the ketchup bottle murderer and Bias’ s sworn enemy; Walker, the strange taxidermist; Lennox, the animal trainer; Monroe Block, Apeland’s tattered tour guide; and an assortment of odd others. Deeper and deeper into the forest they stalk poor Margaret toward a violent and tragic end.

‘This is a fierce little novel. …”Apeland” is a fine first achievement. Allen invites comparison with the best…prose writers.’

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