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My life as a laboratory animal

Monkey Business

Jan Lauwereyns

This novel spans the last eight hours in the life of Haruki, a Japanese macaque who ‘lives’ in a neurophysiology laboratory. The story is told from the perspective of Haruki himself, as he reflects on virtually every aspect of being an experimental animal, while awaiting ‘his last major experiment’ – being put down.

We learn about Haruki's life of many empty days, of interminable uncertainty as to when yet another new test will be conducted in the special chair. Fortunately, there is his neighbour and comic partner in adversity Shin. But after the death of Haruki's personal scientist, the Westerner Rorensu, all he has to look forward to is the lethal injection...

A remarkable amalgam of science and poetry, one that ultimately serves the interest not only of truth but also of beauty and goodness
American Journal of Psychology

‘Monkey Business’ is refreshingly and inventively written. Without once being didactic, it puts the finger on a crucial paradox: we use monkeys for scientific experiments because they are like us (their brains and cognitive processes are similar to ours), but at the same time we use monkeys because they are not like us (so we can do things with them that we wouldn’t do to humans).

A work of great literary merit, which has its roots in books by authors including Nasume Sosekis, George Orwell and Franz Kafka.
Die Fabelschmiede