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"The Monkey Bibleis a fast-paced adventure that explores the edgy frontiers between primatology and philosophy through the enquiring mind of an unlikely young hero. I was impressed with the quality of the science and the passion for conservation was clear and effectively done. Mark Laxer's satirical take on what it means to be 98.6% chimpanzee brings Aldous Huxley into the genetic age."--Dr. Richard Wrangham, Harvard University

"The Monkey Bibleis a fun read. But it is more. It is a journey of discovery, exploring the relationship between humans and animals, exploring connections between biology and spirituality.The Monkey Biblehelps us consider our relation to animals and the natural world, introducing new perspectives in a non-threatening, open-minded, playful format. As we go on the journey with Emmanuel, Lucy, and Evelyn, we see through their eyes and gain an appreciation of different points of view."--Reverend Jay Hartley, Eastwood Christian Church

"Mark Laxer has taken on the challenge of bridging the huge gulf between creationists and Darwinians by writing an engaging and highly original novel - complete with wonderful music - to help each point of view accommodate the other. The message is deeply respectful, and the hope is that whilst books by Dan Dennett and Richard Dawkins may be dismissed by creationists, Mark Laxer's novel and music will be enjoyed by those who value their religious beliefs yet are seeking to understand our biological origins."--Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University

"The Monkey Bibleis one of the most innovative books I have read in a long time. The subject is fascinating; the writing is fresh and wonderful. This is the work of a very creative thinker and writer."--Patsy Sims, Director, Goucher College's MFA in Creative Nonfiction Program and author ofCan Somebody Shout Amen: Inside the Tents and Tabernacles of American Revivalists

"The Monkey Bibleis that rare thing - a rollicking good read which explores deep philosophical topics with fluency and wit... should be on the reading list for every biology and religious studies course but so well does it nail the myth of intelligent design and the mixed-up thinking used to justify racist bigotry, it is more likely to be burned in protest by religious extremists and white supremacists!"--Ian Redmond, OBE, Chief Consultant, GRASP - UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnership

"An extraordinary achievement. This lyrical narrative combines lines of analysis, anxieties and dreams that one doesn't dare hope to find combined in one book. It's a wonderful trip for all of us who have always suspected that our rational understanding of our origins affects far more of our view of life than any one discipline is able to explain.The Monkey Biblemanages to explore the relevance of evolution for science, identity, morality and spirituality in such a sensitive and reflective way, it offers a soothing shelter from the ideological battles normally waged over this issue. The book pulls no punches--it confronts its readers with strong, original ideas and challenges, particularly regarding solutions to our global environmental crisis. From innovative digital approaches to ecotourism to new standards for nuclear technology, the book is filled with stimulating ideas for practical actions to save our planet, all delivered by a natural storyteller who I suspect is focusing his considerable gifts to, above all, invite participation in his multifaceted and critical project. The music is a great accomplice in this effort. The album 'The Line' produces 'Graceland' like heights of eclecticism and inventiveness, and mirrors the book's own already lyrical approach to philosophy."--Alexander von Bismarck, Executive Director, Environmental Investigative Agency

"Using an intriguing set of characters, Laxer skillfully explores the conflict between religion and evolution. The novel addresses a number of critical ethical issues, particularly given the rate with which apes, our closes relatives, are being hunted and their habitat destroyed. It is a thrilling read that people on all sides of the debate will thoroughly enjoy."--Dr. Colin A. Chapman, McGill University, Canada Research Chair in Primate Ecology and Conservation

"The Monkey Bibleis a thought provoking and challenging book. It explores the relationship between humans and otherkind, showing the deep interconnectedness between the entire Earth community. In readingThe Monkey BibleI was reminded of a line by the late cultural historian and geologian, Fr. Thomas Berry - 'The human community and the natural world will go into the future as a single sacred community or both will perish on the way.'"--Sister Bernadette Bostwick, Green Mountain Monastery

"...will challenge believers and skeptics both...The dialogue between faith and science...is extremely important, and this book makes an important contribution..."--Pastor Robert Holum, Luther Place Memorial Church

"The Monkey Bibleweaves a tapestry of fantasy and reality, truth, myth and science and lures us into a journey that challenges us to think about who and what we believe we are. As we join Emmanuel on his voyage of self-discovery, the line that separates human and non-human primates blurs. Then, just when we are most open to encountering any possibilities, Laxer unfolds before us, via Lucy's eloquence, the impact that each of us has on protecting, maintaining, and preserving the Earth's fragile biodiversity for the benefit of our collective futures. Now, that's a good story. Eric Maring'sThe Lineis a great companion music CD too - fun, thought-provoking, good music!"--Debra Curtin, President and Founder, New England Primate Sanctuary

"The Monkey Bibleprovides us with a unique and gentle treatment of the seemingly irreconcilable chasm between the creationists and the evolutionists. Mark Laxer has given us the tools to explore both worlds and thus encourage the spirit of inquiry in young and old alike. This is ultimately the only safeguard we have against prevailing ignorance so conducive to the entrenched views from both camps...I can't wait to introduce Mark's work to the children at my science camp this summer!"--Nigel Penney, Director, Marianopolis Science Camp

"A wonderful rollicking adventure through what it means to be a human animal in the 21st century.The Monkey Biblepaves the way for a creative coming together of religion and science into a new ethic for conservation. Together with the music fromThe Line, The Monkey Bibleis poised to spark a much needed discussion about our place in nature."--Dr. David Browne, Director of Conservation, Canadian Wildlife Federation

"An impressive book! Laxer is a skillful storyteller with an important mission. The reader is taken on an exhilarating, suspenseful journey across the globe in this scientifically fact filled 'bio-romance'. Through the characters of the story, Laxer lucidly portrays the ongoing debate between creationist and evolutionist in the Western world and the efforts of scientist to understand our past and protect the future. The underlying message is a universal one; to insure the survival of humankind we must look beyond our species, accepting and embracing our undeniable evolutionary past and connectedness with the natural world. If we lose that, we've lost everything."--Michael A Huffman Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University

"Ingenious! A captivating tale skillfully woven around the complex themes of evolution, philosophy and religion, plus delivering a strong conservation message. Mark Laxer uses his characters, Emmanuel, Lucy and Evelyn, to take us on an epic journey both geographically and metaphorically."--Dr. Elanor Bell, Lecturer in Microbial Ecology and Marine Conservation, Scottish Association for Marine Science

"The interplay of Mark Laxer's writing and Eric Maring's music provides an innovative call to action to a contemporary issue that is both entertaining and compelling. Each of the characters in Mark's storytelling, through their zeal of exploration of purpose and existence, helps us better understand the role we all play in global conservation and preservation of the biodiversity that makes us who we are.The Monkey Bible, as written by one of the characters, provides a glimpse of a more sustainable personal lifestyle, one that is simpler, one that rewards awareness and amazement at the wonders of nature, and one that nourishes the environment rather than consumes it. It also serves to question the notion of man's dominion over all living creatures, suggesting that if such a role exists, it is probably one more appropriately founded in stewardship and protection, rather than consumption and exploitation.

While the book made me think, Eric's songs allowed me to reflect. Reflect on the many themes and messages in Mark's storytelling. The music helps to create that simpler place, one that is more calm and peaceful. A space that opens the mind and allows it to imagine what each of us can do, embracing many small changes in our personal lives and on a daily basis, to enrich this planet we call home.

And for each of the personal changes we make or ideas we create to leave less of a footprint,The Monkey Bibleencourages us to share it - to tell a story."--Allan M. Casey, III, Co-founder, WildAgain Wildlife Rehabilitation

"The Monkey Biblewas thought-provoking and well-researched. Mark Laxer challenges the way we view our relatedness to apes. He creatively demonstrates that humans are not superior beings, but rather close relatives of apes - interconnected by the tree of life.The Monkey Biblewonderfully weaves together science, religion, ethics, and conservation into an entertaining and educational story."--Jennifer Whitaker, Founding Director, Coalition for Primate Protection

"Many religious communities have awakened to environmental stewardship but species endangerment hasn't gotten big play.The Monkey Biblenot only makes the case that species loss should be at the forefront of our environmental concerns, it demonstrates that human connectedness is at the heart of some strands of Biblical Christianity.

The book highlights the importance of story for understanding our place in the world and invites readers to think about their unique storyline in the grand narrative of creation. Laxer moves questions of human origins blessedly away from a calcified argument of evolution vs creation; he shows instead that God-fearing humans can embrace their relatedness to all species and find grace in doing so. The book raises these issues in a simplified style that will especially appeal to younger audiences (high school, early college) who have just begun to question the relationship between humans and other species and find stereotypical religious answers leave them wanting.The Monkey Biblechallenges the generalization that all Christian people have the same position regarding connections with other species and shows that faithful Christian communities can to take creative action to preserve important habitats.

For me, the accompanying music,The Line, is the real gem in this project. Maring's musical sweep takes you from meditative guitar music to the chaos of jungle sounds, making the characters and ideas inThe Monkey Biblecome alive. His imaginative, playful, soulful style works perfectly with this material. A few days after seeing it performed live, I keep finding myself singing 'Sad, Tired, Beautiful World.' Surely a testament to that song's sticking power. It's a great one."--Pastor Sarah Scherschligt, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

"The Monkey Bibleraises a question we should all ponder: does the line between humans and other animals really have the moral significance we give it?"--Dr. Peter Singer, Princeton University

"The Monkey Bibleis a fascinating exploration of what it means to be human. Readers are taken on a global trek that delves into the connections between apes, humans, and all living things. Storytelling like this has always played a central role in humans' understanding of nature.The Monkey Bibleis the universal story of searching for one's place in the world. It's a story for everyone, ape and human alike."--Andrew K. Johnston, Smithsonian Institution

"Are apes like us? Are we like apes? Does the Pope believe in evolution? Should cell phone users keep their voices down? These and other important questions are tackled in Mark Laxer'sThe Monkey Bibleafter an unfortunate discovery leads the protagonist, Emmanuel, to question his place in nature. Many literary heroes have waded through identity crises; Emmanuel suffers a species crisis: am I 98.6% ape or 98.6% human? Which side of the line am I on? After a fast-paced adventure across four continents, discovering that "the line" between humans and nature is fuzzier than he thought, Emmanuel faces an even tougher reality: humankind's destructive tendencies, and how to preserve the 99.999999999% of species that are not human. Mark Laxer brings Emmanuel's plight to life masterfully in this story which weaves together evolution, religion, ethics and adventure and leaves us questioning who we really are."--Dr. Mitchell Irwin, Primatologist, co-founder of Sadabe
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ISBN-10:  0963810804
ISBN-13:  978-0963810809
Author:  Mark Laxer
Publisher:  Outer Rim Press, LLC
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review by . September 23, 2010
   "But you've been looking for Truth in a work of fiction," one of the characters wails near the end of The Monkey Bible, a "modern allegory" by Mark Laxer.      Well, why not? the reader might ask about this novel, full of truth about science, evolution, biology, human hearts, and the relation between all creatures on Earth, particularly those in the great family of apes. Quite fittingly, this book that is a hybrid containing story, theory …
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