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the Complete Review
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Gallimauf's Gospel

Chris Wilson

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Title: Gallimauf's Gospel
Author: Chris Wilson
Genre: Novel
Written: 1986
Length: 126 pages
Availability: Gallimauf's Gospel - US
Gallimauf's Gospel - UK
Gallimauf's Gospel - Canada

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Our Assessment:

B+ : well-written, clever, humorous little tale

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Gallimauf's Gospel is a small, elegant novel, set largely on the Isle of Iffe in a past century. The island is cut off from much of the world, governed over by the eccentric Lord Iffe. Few visitors ever come here. One who does, setting off this tale, is Maria, the pet monkey of a cook on a ship that is shipwrecked. Only Maria survives, floating in a barrel until she reaches land.
       A playful monkey, her first contact with the Iffe-locals leads to some misunderstanding on their part: they don't know what to make of this stranger that dangles in the trees. Doctor Gallimauf has the answer: he (for they believe the monkey to be male) is obviously a Frenchman, explaining his unusual deportment, manners, and silence.
       The monkey acts like a monkey, but the islanders won't see her for what she is. One man, the merchant Hogg, even sees a great opportunity here and decides to wed his daughter Cordelia to the stranger.
       All goes well for a while, but the misunderstandings must come to a cross, as they finally do -- helped also by two more visitors from afar, banished to the hell of Iffe.
       The rich characters Wilson nimbly draws, including Lord Iffe and Mad Vera, and the smart progression of the book make for an entertaining read. The book is convincing in its unlikely scenario, the endearing (and clueless) monkey a marvelous focal point. Chris Wilson is always sly and rarely too heavy-handed in his satire. A clever, thoughtful, enjoyable little read.

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Chris(topher) Wilson: Other books by Chris Wilson under Review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Contemporary British fiction

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About the Author:

       English author Chris Wilson was born November 18, 1949 in London. He received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He has worked as a research psychologist and was lecturer at Goldsmiths' College, University of London. He is the author of a number of novels, including Baa, Fou, and Gallimauf's Gospel.

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