Walt and Judy are deeply in love, but Judy longs for a child. Walt measures all beauty against that of Judy and doesn’t want her eyes to get any sadder. They stay side by side and search for distractions, realizing they may never have a family—when Walt finds an unexpected opportunity in the pages of Life magazine. Soon they are welcoming Looee, born in Sierra Leone, into their home in the hills of Vermont, where they come to regard him as their son. The three of them eventually find their rhythm and settle into their own version of love and life between four walls. Until the night their unique family is changed forever.
Hundreds of miles away, at the Girdish Institute in Florida, a group of chimpanzees has been studied for decades. There is proof that chimps have memories and solve problems, that they can learn language and need friends. They are political, altruistic; they get angry and forgive. Among them is Mr. Ghoul, who has grown up in a world of rivals, sex, and unpredictable loss. As Looee and Mr. Ghoul’s distant but parallel paths through childhood, adolescence, and early middle age converge, a new experience of family is formed.
Told simultaneously from the perspective of humans and chimpanzees, A Beautiful Truth is an inventive, thrillingly intelligent, and heartfelt novel about parenthood, friendship, loneliness, and strength, about the things we hold sacred as humans and the facts that link us inevitably to a nature we too often ignore.