Still Life with Monkey

Weber, Katharine

  12 Reviews

Everyone needs a helping hand at some stage in their life, but how would it be if that hand was simian? That is the dilemma confronting architect Duncan Wheeler who has been severely paralysed in a car accident. Enter stage right - Ottoline, a capuchin monkey trained as a service animal, and a startling addition to a household reeling from the grief of curtailed dreams and adjusting to the challenges of a new future. But will this be enough for Duncan?

From its finely drawn characters to its examination of what makes life worth living, this is an engaging and uplifting read.



A range of ratings - not a book some of us would have chosen. Got a bit disjointed. But interesting to learn about the helper monkeys for quadriplegics.
ASHB 016
We all liked this book and had huge sympathy for him. Only a couple of us even knew about care monkeys so it was an interesting book/story for that alone - let alone that that the story itself was good. Great discussion after reading this and no-one was surprised at the ending although we did wonder if it was actually possible.
AUCK 167
We liked this moving and thought-provoking novel. The author's writing style and wise insights into the human condition made this a compelling read. The story stayed with some of us long after we'd finished reading it.
AUCK 050
A completely mixed reaction from our group with one member rating it the best book we've read all year and another, the worst. Everyone found the introduction of the monkey interesting but didn't go so far as to believe it added much comedy or comedic relief to the novel. The reader who vehemently disliked it didn't believe Weber wrote from a position of real understanding of quadriplegia, and found this particularly distasteful. Still, it engendered a very engaged conversation within the group.
AUCK 162
Interesting although clinical at times. At times there were long, convoluted sentences with too much detail affecting the flow of the story. Lovely writing about the interactions and relationship with Ottoline.
Beautifully written. Ending disappointing.
In our group you either enjoyed it or you didn't. The story got a little lost in the middle, then suddenly it was the end. Some did not like the suicide topic as too close to home. But great descriptions.
WELL 018
People felt this book had been written in themes, each of which were not fully developed. Some found the couple unlikeable, influencing their overall enjoyment of the book. Some enjoyed the architectural detail ( two architects in our group).
Most found this an interesting book to read. Had a good discussion from the questions.
AUCK 271
We all enjoyed reading this book, and it promoted much discussion around being wheelchair bound, suicide and euthanasia.
CHCH 357
While several of our group did not finish the book, our subsequent discussion was one of the liveliest I can recall, from end-of-life conversations we have had with our partners to the ethical treatment of animals in human service and the inequalities in our health system. Would a less well-off individual be given Ottoline The style of writing put a few of our group off, especially the first few paragraphs, but it did gather momentum and was engaging for those who completed the book. Enough was left unsaid about the relationships between characters to make us curious.
CHCH 317
This book was generally enjoyed. While it started off a little disjointed, the reader became more engaged as the story and the characters developed. The experiences as a paraplegic were disclosed, and for some of our group it became quite an emotional story.