Review: A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam


Title: A Beautiful Truth

Author: Colin McAdam

Published: Granta Books August 2013

Status: Read from August 10 to 11, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy Allen & Unwin}

My Thoughts:

So I am not even really sure where to start with A Beautiful Truth. I feel I must have missed something important, something that would have revealed McAdam’s novel as a work of brilliance rather than an awkwardly written take on the movie Rise of The Planet of the Apes.

At times I admired a well written phrase or keen observation but mostly I felt the narrative, which is shared between humans and chimps, was cold, distant and arrogant.

I thought the plot disjointed, focusing first on Louee’s life with Walter and Judy Ribke, interspersed with the first point of view of a group of chimps housed in a nearby research institute, which then shifts to a biomedical testing facility where Looee is later exiled. McAdams also detours randomly to introduce characters which add little to the story – a politician, a neighbour, a researcher’s girlfriend and then drops them unceremoniously.

While I recognise McAdams does make some thoughtful observations about love, communication, and the characteristics of humanity, I feel that substance was sacrificed on the altar of ‘literary’ style.

A Beautiful Truth didn’t work for me but reviews are mixed. I would only recommend it to reader’s who have the patience for literary pretension.

Available to Purchase from

Allen & Unwin I BoomerangBooks I Booktopia I Amazon Kindle

via Booko

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melinda
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 22:39:30

    Thanks for an honest review!



  2. Patty
    Aug 13, 2013 @ 01:53:38

    I can’t get past the monkey cover!



  3. Shannon @ River City Reading
    Aug 13, 2013 @ 08:37:52

    I’ve seen some differing opinions on this one and I’ve been pretty curious. I tend to like books that are a little strange, but I’m still not sure how I’d feel about it.



  4. Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 22:01:52

    Oh dear, this is on my reading pile too and had high hopes. But sometimes interesting ideas don’t translate into a success…. Fingers crossed my experience is better than yours Shelleyrae.



  5. Leeswammes
    Aug 17, 2013 @ 06:25:58

    Oops, a disjointed plot? I have a copy of this novel – I hope I like it a bit better tan you!



  6. Trackback: A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam - my experience - Booklover Book Reviews
  7. Buried In Print
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 06:01:09

    Did we ever have different experiences with this book; it’s definitely going to be on my list of favourite reads for this year! I haven’t gone looking for reviews but now your thoughts have made me curious about how differently folks have responded to this story. I do understand that you found the alternating sections disjointed, but I believe it was deliberate, and although there were parts of the book that I did not enjoy (subject matter, partly), I greatly admired it and absolutely loved Walt and Judy’s story, which grabbed me from the start.



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