Theory of Bastards (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

I started this novel without any expectations and was well-rewarded. Frankie Burke has just taken a research position at a primate facility. She is studying the mating habits of bonobo monkeys and at the same time she is recovering from surgery to treat her endometriosis. Frankie is focused on her new position and living a life without pain, but in the background there are hints of hints of a looming environmental catastrophe. Soon a dust storm causes the evacuation of the surrounding countryside and Frankie and her human co-workers must do what they can to ensure the survival of the primates in their care. This is a compelling and emotionally stirring tale that stuck with me for days after closing the last page.

— From Mark B.


The Philip K. Dick Award-winning sci-fi novel: "A riveting page-turner" about the behavior of primates--human and otherwise--"in a very near and dire future" (The Washington Post).

Winner of the 2019 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Speculative Fiction

One of The Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of fiction in 2018

In a world where coastal cities flood, dust storms plague the Midwest, and implants connect humans directly to the Web, Dr. Francine Burk has broken new ground in the study of primate sexuality. While in recovery from a long-needed surgery--paid for with a portion of her McArthur "genius" award money--Frankie is offered placement at a prestigious research institute where she can verify her subversive scientific discovery: her Theory of Bastards.
Leaving Manhattan for a research campus outside Kansas City, Frankie finds that the bonobos she's studying are complex, with distinct personalities. She comes to know them with the help of her research partner, a man with a complicated past and perhaps a place in her future. But when the entire campus is caught in a sudden emergency, the lines between subject and scientist--and between colleague and companion--begin to blur.
Audrey Schulman Award-winning novel explores the nuances of communication, the implications of unquestioned technological advancement, and the enduring power of love in a way that is essential and urgent in today's world.

About the Author

Audrey Schulman is the author of four previous novels: Three Weeks in December (Europa 2012), Swimming with Jonah, The Cage, and A House Named Brazil. Her work has been translated into eleven languages. Born in Montreal, she now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she runs HEET, a non-profit.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781609454371
ISBN-10: 1609454375
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publication Date: April 24th, 2018
Pages: 416
Language: English