His Monkey Wife | John Collier

His Monkey Wife


Published November 2015
ISBN: 9781907970788
Format: Paperback

Mr Fatigay is a hapless Edwardian schoolmaster posted to the Congo. His sole companion in the tropics is Emily: petite, dark and vivacious, brush­ing the floor with the knuckles of her strong capable hands. Emily is a prodigiously gifted chimpanzee of great intelligence and sensitivity, and also a secret autodidact. As she uncovers the delights of art and litera­ture, she proves to be more cultivated and compassionate than the human animals around her.

When the time comes for Mr Fatigay to return home to London, he brings Emily along – gifting her to his adored fiancée, Amy, who makes her a housemaid. To escape her stifling servitude, Emily begins donning Amy’s clothes and sneaking out across the rooftops: she reads Darwin at The British Museum (where she is taken for a fascinating woman of mystery), calls on the apes at the zoo, and discovers her talent for the stage. But her secret trips into town provide only a brief solace, as there is only one person who can make her truly happy. . .

His Monkey Wife is a comic masterpiece about a most unexpected love-triangle, and a biting satire about the nature of civilisation.


Read the first chapter here.


‘If you don’t know his work, you owe yourself the pleasure – the indispensable pleasure – of Collier.’ – Michael Chabon

‘A wayward masterpiece.’ – Anthony Burgess

‘From the first sentence the reader is aware that he is in the presence of a magician . . . [Collier] casts a spell and he does so always with a smile.’ – Paul Theroux

‘Truly sui generis . . . a small masterpiece of social satire.’ – Boston Globe

‘It’s a pity that Collier isn’t better known, as he was the creator of many an eerie tale.’ – Neil Gaiman