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Ishmael Daniel Quinn :: The Progressive Torrents Community
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Ishmael Daniel Quinn


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Date/time added:

2012-01-02 16:56:10

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Ishmael - Daniel Quinn
Written by Daniel Quinn
Format(s): PDF
Language: English
Publication Date: May 1, 1995
The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man in search for truth.
He answers an ad in a local newspaper from a teacher looking for
serious pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned office with
a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling delicately on a slender branch.
"You are the teacher?" he asks incredulously. "I am the teacher," the
gorilla replies. Ishmael is a creature of immense wisdom and he has a
story to tell, one that no other human being has ever heard. It is a
story that extends backward and forward over the lifespan of the earth
from the birth of time to a future there is still time save. Like all
great teachers, Ishmael refuses to make the lesson easy; he demands
the final illumination to come from within ourselves. Is it mans
destiny to rule the world? Or is it a higher destiny possible for
him-- one more wonderful than he has ever imagined?
Quinn ( Dreamer ) won the Turner Tomorrow Awards half-million-dollar
first prize for this fascinating and odd book--not a novel by any
conventional definition--which was written 13 years ago but could not
find a publisher. The unnamed narrator is a disillusioned modern
writer who answers a personal ad ("Teacher seeks pupil. . . . Apply in
person.") and thereby meets a wise, learned gorilla named Ishmael that
can communicate telepathically. The bulk of the book consists entirely
of philosophical dialogues between gorilla and man, on the model of
Platos Republic. Through Ishmael, Quinn offers a wide-ranging if
highly general examination of the history of our civilization,
illuminating the assumptions and philosophies at the heart of many
global problems. Despite some gross oversimplifications, Quinns ideas
are fairly convincing; its hard not to agree that unrestrained
population growth and an obsession with conquest and control of the
environment are among the key issues of our times. Quinn also traces
these problems back to the agricultural revolution and offers a
provocative rereading of the biblical stories of Genesis. Though
hardly any plot to speak of lies behind this long dialogue, Quinns
smooth style and his intriguing proposals should hold the attention of
readers interested in the daunting dilemmas that beset our planet.
50,000 first printing; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to
the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Winner of the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship, a literary competition
intended to foster works of fiction that present positive solutions to
global problems, this book offers proof that good ideas do not
necessarily equal good literature. Ishmael, a gorilla rescued from a
traveling show who has learned to reason and communicate, uses these
skills to educate himself in human history and culture. Through a
series of philosophical conversations with the unnamed narrator, a
disillusioned Sixties idealist, Ishmael lays out a theory of what has
gone wrong with human civilization and how to correct it, a theory
based on the tenet that humanity belongs to the planet rather than
vice versa. While the message is an important one, Quinn rarely goes
beyond a didactic exposition of his argument, never quite succeeding
in transforming idea into art. Despite this, heavy publicity should
create demand.

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