Dana Armstrong is no ordinary primatologist. She was the little girl captured by the cameras of her father's doomed psychology experiment designed to bridge the species barrier by raising a chimpanzee as a member of his own family. Decades later, the Armstrongs are a uniquely dysfunctional family. Dana devotes her life, often at the expense of intimacy, to rescuing and housing discarded chimpanzees at the South Carolina sanctuary she directs. Her brother Zack is a drifter, often seduced by drugs, sometimes wanted by the police. When Dana arrives one morning to discover that someone has released the chimps at the sanctuary, she faces a series of crises that pit her against her brother, the local community, her colleagues, an inquisitive journalist, and a nemesis from her past.
The parallel cultures of chimpanzees and humans highlight the truth that we can learn more about ourselves through observing other species than perhaps we realize.
From Publishers Weekly (starred): "A South Carolina chimpanzee sanctuary affiliated with a university provides the unusual setting for Wesselmann's powerful second novel . . . The stirring stories of Dana Armstrong and her family play out in unforgettable fashion. With empathetic insight, the author precisely observes both human and animal behavior."
From Library Journal (starred): "Novelist Wesselmann has once again combined a riveting plot with exciting characters to hold you spellbound until the last page. This novel, which raises many ethical and moral considerations, is most timely."