Bottoms Again

Jerry Fodor

  • The Woman and the Ape by Peter Høeg, translated by Barbara Haveland
    Harvill, 229 pp, £15.99, January 1997, ISBN 1 86046 254 5
  • Great Apes by Will Self
    Bloomsbury, 404 pp, £14.99, May 1997, ISBN 0 7475 2987 6

Archimedes thought that he could move the world if only he could get outside of it, and the same idea inspires writers in the transcendental genre of fiction. Find some place sufficiently far out and put your fulcrum there. The leverage you achieve will lend authority to your voice. Both these books hope that higher primates will supply the required pivot. The Woman and the Ape looks up to them for moral edification; Great Apes looks down on them for comic relief. Each is, in its own way, amply unsuccessful.

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