In a faraway city, a baboon has been found on the side of the street – perhaps not such a remarkable thing in those parts. But the oddity lies not in his being on the pavement, but in his powers of human speech. His English is impeccable, his grammar beyond reproach. As he becomes more and more involved in human affairs, Mr Thundermug, as he comes to be known, finds himself at a loss. What is he to make of his wife and children, who remain firmly rooted in the monkey world, unable to read or write? And what is he to make of humans, who have accused him of cruelty to animals (his wife sleeps in the bath of an old abandoned house) and who reproach him for wandering around naked? In this surreal and touching tale – reminiscent of Edward Gorey – Cornelius Medvei brings us one of the most outlandish and unusual novellas of recent years. His lithographs delightfully illustrate this quirky little oddity.
Reviews of Mr Thundermug
- ‘One might place this elegantly written take with anthropomorphic allegories such as Bulgakov’s “The Heart of a Dog” or Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”; it certainly teases our deep unease at the fine genetic lines dividing humans and apes. The whole thing might just be a curious flight of fancy; but it has the power to disturb, and perhaps that is enough.’ Guardian
- ‘Cornelius Medvei’s novella is a magic-realist confection with a sly, wry sense of humour and a deft ear for the surreal and the inconsequential. This is certainly the most quirky, entertaining debut of the year so far.’ Sunday Telegraph
- ‘The shadow of Saki hangs heavily over Cornelius Medvei’s entertaining debut novella. There is a great deal of humour in the tale, but also a sense of poignancy as Medvei skilfully conveys Mr Thundermug’s isolation from his mute wife and children. Hauntingly illustrated with Medvei’s own lithographs, this is a promising first work of fiction from a distinctive talent.’ New Statesman
- ‘Utterly beguiling…Mr. Thundermug is the best animal protagonist since “Life of Pi”’s Richard Parker.’ Matt Thorne
- ‘What a colourful, glorious fantasy. I can’t help believing that it’s all true: Mr Thundermug is still out there somewhere.’ Alexander Masters