The Ape Man’s Brother – Joe R Lansdale (Book Review)

ape man

Title – The Ape Man’s Brother

Author – Joe R. Lansdale

Story Summary –

In the dense jungle, a species of ape like creatures witness the crash of an airplane. Amongst the wreckage a baby lays crying. A female of the tribe takes the baby and raises him as her own. Together with her family the child grows in the wild. We know this story only it is not the one we were told. This is the true story of the child raised in the jungle among the tribe of apes.

“..Now the true events can be told, because other than myself, everyone involved with the sordid affair is now dead or missing, except that goddamn chimpanzee. He’s got the constitution of a redwood tree. Then again it’s not his fault. He was an actor. He was never actually involved, but the way he’s treated, living in a retirement home for animals of the cinema, photos and articles popping up about him on his birthday every year, his fuzzy face covered in birthday cake, you’d think he’d at least have been President for a term.
Me, I was the real thing, and my raggedy ass has been left to its own devices. So, I thank you for coming to me to get the real story, and I will tell it true without dropping a stitch on the real lowdown…”

Life for the ape man ( The Big Guy) and his adopted brother goes along as normal as life can be. They hunt, they kill, they eat and they screw. Until one day they hear a sound unlike any they have ever heard in the jungle. It was the sound of singing. Human singing. And with this sound the whole world is changed.
They have found The Woman.

“..The Delicate Thing struck me at that moment in time as ugly as The Big Guy. Reason for this, I’m sure, is obvious. My view of what was beautiful was based on my upbringing, my culture, and my own appearance. My idea then of attractive was fur-covered, no sores, both eyes worked, they had a vagina, and the fleas were minimal, though sometimes you could eat fleas while you mated, which I suppose for us could be classified as a cheap dinner date.
In time my views on attractiveness changed…”

The Big Guy falls hard for The Woman and is taken back, along with his brother, to America where they become instant celebrities. The Brother takes to civilization quickly, wearing clothes, trimming his body hair and even setting fashion trends. And also finding himself wanted by a variety of human females. None of which he said no too.
The Big Guy finds civilization more difficult to conform to. He and the woman try to settle down, making the occasional appearance and the Big Guy appearing in movies. But the jungle won’t leave him alone and soon his actions lead to public humiliation and from there the Big Guy finds his solace in whiskey and other drink.
The Woman finds her solace in The Ape Man’s Brother.
This sordid triangle of love and betrayal lead to unfathomable repercussions for all involved.

“..The Woman had seen him as well. She had tears in her eyes.
We waited.
He didn’t come rushing down after us.
I heard a car start up behind the trees and race away.
I could tell by the sound of the engine that it was his Buick, the one he hardly drove and really shouldn’t drive at all. The Big Guy could do many things, but he never really learned to drive too well. He was always being pulled out of ditches and having to pay other drivers for banging up their cars. But he had been smart enough to ease up behind that hill silently, get out and climb that tree. Now he didn’t care. About anything was my guess.
You want to know what hurt me the most right then? That he didn’t even have the courtesy to kill us…”

Together the Ape Man’s Brother and The Woman must find a way to save The Big Guy and return them all to the way things had been.

Review –

Wow. Okay I have to say I really liked this book. It is like Tarzan on an E Channel Expose. Where are they now and all that. It is twisted and sordid and a whole lot of fun. Told through the voice and eyes of The Big Guy’s brother, the ape, it is just a fun story.
Joe R. Lansdale rendition of the Tarzan story is going to go missed by a lot of readers and that is a shame. It should be read. It should be laughed out loud at and OMG’d at and whatever the hell the tale illicits from you because it will. You will have a reaction.
Like Christopher Moore’s take on the life of Jesus in Lamb, this novel is satire on an Icon of Pop Culture. This is the Tarzan you never knew but you should.
A really good and fun read.


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