Verdict: With compelling characters and a suspenseful plot, MacQueen puts both apes and humans under the microscope.
Deb Solomon, married and the mother of a two-year-old daughter, isn’t expecting her life to take any unusual turns when she lands a position as business manager of a Southern University primate lab outside of Atlanta.
Under the direction of a brilliant and enigmatic primatologist named Soraya Baldwin-Ruhl, who for years has been studying the behavior and communication skills of apes, employees and researchers work tirelessly: some have even lost fingers in their quest to care for and communicate with the bonobos. Deb, dissatisfied with her marriage and depressed by her role as a mother, swiftly slips into the Jurassic Park-like atmosphere of the 55-acre lab, knowing instinctively that something is not quite right, but drawn by Soraya’s dedication and magnetism. Before long the lab feels more like home to Deb than her own home, and she becomes enmeshed in a daily drama in which the apes and their human caretakers intermingle in sometimes-dangerous ways.
MacQueen keeps the tension building as Deb falls deeper and deeper under the spell of the driven, perplexing Soraya, who perilously walks a fine line between studying the apes and becoming a central part of their world. With compelling characters and a suspenseful plot, MacQueen puts both apes and humans under the microscope.
Reviewed by Kathryn Livingston for IndieReader
Purchase Out, Out: A Novel of Women and Apes from Amazon