The Ape Explained

Several people have responded to my last postage with a query. And the query was this: why is the ‘sensational new novel’ by Hungarian writer Lilla Jakobi called The Fake Ape? The plot summary supplied gives the impression that it is a sentimental First World War story; the title, meanwhile, hints at something rather more amusing.

This is a fair point. This does seem to be one of many examples of a title failing to match up to a novel’s content. As far as it goes, however, I believe that there is some reasoning behind Jakobi’s decision. A clunky passage in chapter fourteen provides the relevant clue:

Claude watched them lumbering through the mist, like gorillas with grenades in their hands. Fighting machines – that’s what they had become. But is that what they were? There was yet something false about their movements; something perverted. It seemed to him then that humans only ever seem to play at things; to dress themselves with whatever catches their fancy at a certain moment. One cannot be true to a nature that no longer exists.

The Fake Ape = The Human Condition. It’s as simple as that (if you’re a young female Hungarian novelist, that is)…

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