Primal Tears

Primal Tears

by Kelpie Wilson

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A cross between a human and a bonobo? Carl Sagan and others have speculated: Is it possible? What kind of creature would it be? And how might this affect our world? Kelpie Wilson takes the premise and runs with it in this engaging novel. Primal Tears is the story of Sage, born to a young woman who has volunteered to be a surrogate mother for an endangered species of chimpanzee. The process goes awry, and Sage, a lovable youngster, is neither completely one species nor the other. When her existence becomes public knowledge, she needs all the best characteristics of both species to find a place for herself in our human-dominated world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781583949559
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Writer, editor, and engineer Kelpie Wilson is well known as an environmental activist. Her articles have appeared in Wild Earth, The Progressive, and the Earth First! Journal. She is currently an editor and writer for, an online news service with a worldwide audience. Wilson lives with her husband in a solar-powered cabin in the Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon. Visit her at

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Primal Tears 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MeditationesMartini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A baby is born that's half human and half bonobo, and everything is different. This book is about imagining and coming to terms with that. As, like, a plot and a storyline, I felt like it was a little bit thin at points--let's just get that out of the way--but as a thought experiment, a book-length allegory, a family-sized microcosm that bursts with assurance into full-blown biopolitics, it's quite wonderful. I would have liked to see more nitty-gritty political impact-type stuff--what kind of tizzy does this throw, like, researchers worldwide into, as opposed to just the few who figure as major characters in the book?--and definitely more of what was the most fascinating section to me, the "animal that therefore I am" part where Sage goes home to her bonobo father and extended family in the artificial habitat. I can understand how that was the hardest part to write probably, and I would have had a similar failure of nerve (if I may presume tentatively to identify it as such) as far as introducing Sage to bonobos in the wild.

But, I mean, these are the best kind of criticisms--the "I wanted more of this and this and this" kind. And Sage remains with me as such a powerful symbol--the evocation of what it might feel like to combine cagey humanness with the bonobo's need to sublimate aggression into sex, and what a powerful metonymy that is for the human need to be calmed and loved, and the effect that Sage has on the people around her--and the ultimate radical biological optimism of it all, the idea that our behaviour is chemical and environmentally determined, and therein lies the possibility of change--that is skilfully drawn and powerful.