Saturday, February 26, 2011

"The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore"

Benjamin Hale is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, where he received a Provost's Fellowship to write The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, which went on to win a Michener-Copernicus Award. He has been a night shift baker, a security guard, a trompe l'oeil painter, a pizza deliverer, a cartoonist, an illustrator and a technical writer. He grew up in Colorado and now lives in New York.

Hale applied the Page 69 Test to The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and reported the following:
First of all, my inner thirteen-year-old boy can’t help but snicker over the name of this test. Why page 69?—heh, heh. The idea that something on page 69 should be somehow microcosmically representative of the rest of the book struck me as a bit arbitrary. But maybe there’s something to it. I looked up page 69 of my book. It’s actually the last page of a chapter, Chapter VII (yes, I like to rock the Roman numerals), and it’s only half a page of text. But—lo and behold!—I was amazed, as if it had been prophesied, to find that the ending paragraph of this chapter does, in fact, just so happen to encapsulate the greater themes of the book. My narrator-ape, Bruno, who is still a “silent-minded animal,” climbs into the treetops on the campus of the University of Chicago, and in the distance beholds for the first time the skyline of downtown Chicago. And, he says, “I fell in love”:
I forsook my animalhood right then and there at the top of that tree, because of this crazy, disastrous love I was in with humanity. Of course I was in love for all the vainest and greediest reasons. And it was this vanity and greed and lust that drove me to—following your example some several million years too late—come down out of the tree. I climbed down from that tree to spend the rest of my life running from the yawning darkness of animal terror toward the light of fire stolen from the gods, and like you, I remain in a state of constant pursuit, never quite escaping the darkness, nor ever reaching the light.
Learn more about the book and author at Benjamin Hale's website and blog.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue