Mister Monkey

Mister Monkey

A Novel

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author weaves an ingenious, darkly humorous, and brilliantly observant story that follows the exploits and intrigue of a constellation of characters affiliated with an off-off-off-off Broadway children's musical. Mister Monkey--a screwball children's musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee--is the kind of family favorite that survives far past its prime. Margot, who plays the chimp's lawyer, knows the production is dreadful and bemoans the failure of her acting career. She's settled into the drudgery of playing a humiliating part--until the day she receives a mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer. and later, in the middle of a performance, has a shocking encounter with Adam, the twelve-year-old who plays the title role. Francine Prose's effervescent comedy is told from the viewpoints of wildly unreliable, seemingly disparate characters whose lives become deeply connected as the madcap narrative unfolds. There is Adam, whose looming adolescence informs his interpretation of his role; Edward, a young audience member who is candidly unimpressed with the play; Ray, the author of the novel on which the musical is based, who witnesses one of the most awkward first dates in literature; and even the eponymous Mister Monkey, the Monkey God himself. With her trademark wit and verve, Prose delves into humanity's most profound mysteries: art, ambition, childhood, aging, and love. Startling and captivating, Mister Monkey is a breathtaking novel from a writer at the height of her craft"-- Provided by publisher.
"From New York Times bestselling author and house treasure Francine Prose comes this ingenious, darkly humorous novel that follows the exploits and intrigue of a constellation of characters affiliated with an off-off-off-off Broadway children's theater production"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062397836
Characteristics: 285 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

April 2018 "Traces the revolving experiences of cast, crew and audience members surrounding a terrible screwball children's musical, including an actress who resigns herself to a humiliating downturn in her career before having a shocking encounter with a child costar."

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 04, 2020

I looked forward to each chapter to see what twists it would bring to the original story. A great plot wonderfully well written.

Dec 25, 2018

"There are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason."
"Oh, yes there are. The world is senseless chaos."
I just picked this off the shelf from the library without knowing anything about it. What a pleasant surprise! You wouldn't think that a book whose plot revolves a children's musical starring a monkey would be so nuanced, insightful, and even moving. It follows a small cast of characters, including the actor who plays the title character, all somehow associated with the play. Some might find it off putting that Prose (What a perfect name for a writer!) switches points of view multiple times, but I thought she pulled it off beautifully. I also liked her "Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932."

lotuslori_8 Dec 23, 2018

The only reason I picked up this book was because of the title, so I didn't know what type of book I was going to read. I enjoyed the style of the novel where each chapter was the story of a person who had a connection to Mr Monkey and how their lives crossed in the most unexpected ways.

May 24, 2018

This is a hard one! I would recommend it with caution. When I persevered, I found the discovery of the inner worlds of each character touching. The challenge of living with life's twists and turns. However, I truly liked only two of the characters. I would not call this book a comedy!

Apr 24, 2017

Extraordinarily written, in a very unusual, unique format. Loved it~ shocking, sad-funny, and totally lovable.

"Failures and disappointments make time go by so fast that you fail to notice your real life, and the past when I was so free seems to belong to someone else, not myself.” What a very good quotable quote!


Dec 22, 2016

This is a great book. I didn't want it to end, but I couldn't stop reading. Francine Prose is a real writer's writer. You can tell she loves words and the structure of sentences, and telling a good story. I won't give anything away, but "Mr. Monkey" is funny in parts, touching in others and thoroughly enjoyable. It's definitely an unusual format and I'm not sure she would have found a publisher with this concept if she hadn't already published a good 20 books. Anyway, I really liked it.


Add Age Suitability
Apr 24, 2017

Telingro thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Dec 22, 2016

Pressroom thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top