Cornelius Medvei’s Mr. Thundermug is an imaginative short novel chronicling the life of Mr. Thundermug, a baboon who inexplicably learns how to speak English. This is another of the books I am reading as part of the Irresistible Review Challenge.
I originally found the review for this book at Diary of an Eccentric, which is listed as book 38, I believe, in the recap. What a great look at the life of a Baboon as a human, or should I say ape in a human world.
Mr. Thundermug, his wife, and his two children, Angus and Trudy, are all given names by Mr. Thundermug. The baboon soon realizes that he is the only one in the family able to speak and understand English when it is spoken. Through a series of run-ins with the Council on Housing, Thundermug soon comes to realize that he is governed by two contrary standards–that of human law and natural law.
His grasp of speech amazes many, while others ignore the baboon who speaks their language as if he were a figment of their imagination. I wonder if this book is another look at discrimination, but at the same time I wonder if there is another meaning altogether. Perhaps as humans we are not as superior to animals as we would like to suggest or believe. Perhaps they are wiser than we are.
***End Spoiler Alert***
It’s interesting to see a study of animal conditions from another perspective, rather than the human entering the world of the gorilla, for instance. The baboon enters the world of humanity and what he learns is striking.