The Language of Kin: A Novel (Paperback)

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From award-winning novelist Lynne Hugo, "The Language of Kin is a beautifully written and poignant tale of compassion and love for the people and creatures that surrounds us."  —Book Trib

Zookeepers Kate McKinsey and Marco Lopez are torn between their profound professional disagreements and their growing attraction. When an orphaned chimpanzee, traumatized by experiments in a medical lab arrives at the zoo, they are forced to work together to help her acclimate. Strong differences of opinion cause tempers to flare and resentments to grow.

But when they discover that they're each sole caregivers for their mothers—one who has been deaf her entire life and the other who's lost her ability to process words—Kate and Marc begin to see each other in a new, more compassionate light. Struggling to avoid their differences and keep work and private life separate, they get more deeply involved as Marc helps Kate move her mother to nursing care and begins teaching her and her mother American Sign Language.

As disaster strikes the zoo and one life-threatening crisis spirals into another, old animosities surface and anger boils over, burning a painful path to decisions that threaten to shatter their relationship. With their futures on the line, can they risk reaching across the divide to save the ones they love—and themselves?

Lynne Hugo's twelfth novel, The Language of Kin takes readers behind-the scenes in a zoo while weaving a masterful, riveting story in "...a work of fiction that rises to an impressive level of literary excellence."   —Midwest Review

About the Author

Lynne Hugo is the author of ten previous novels. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient who has also received grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Where the Trail Grows Faint won the Riverteeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize. Born and educated in New England, Lynne and her husband now live in Ohio with Scout, a yellow Lab, terror of squirrels and renowned for his shortstop skill with launched tennis balls and unnecessary barking.

Praise For…

"Hugo takes a compelling look at the ethical issues and connections between humans and our fellow animals. THE LANGUAGE OF KIN offers a well-researched, unbiased perspective into this multifaceted issue through a well-written, captivating story," —Samantha Russak, Ph.D., Primatologist

"Hugo's latest [The Book of CarolSue] is a sweet, sad, funny, meditation on the nature of aging and grief...This is a novel that would fit right in on the shelf next to novels like A Man Called Ove and similar books that balance humor and heartbreak." —Booklist
"A widower takes up her late husband's mission to get revenge on the man who killed their grandson in the gripping latest from Hugo [The Testament of Harold's Wife]...Louisa is a charming protagonist." —Publishers Weekly

"[The Testament of Harold's Wife is] A winning and wonderful novel, with a unique and distinctive storyline, there is a little bit of magic for everyone within the pages of this book." —The New York Journal of Books

"The Testament of Harold's Wife is a richly told tale that explores the human/animal connection and the journey to get past tragedy. Louisa, the spunky, elderly narrator delivers a tender hymn of hope and rebirth that stays with you long after the last page." —Kim Michele Richardson, NYT bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

"The Language of Kin takes something we all possess--our ability to communicate with others--and has us examine that gift with new eyes. Hugo's words are beautiful, but this riveting story shows us how words can often fail, and forces us to see the many others ways we communicate, sometimes even unintentionally. This novel is an emotional read full of page-turning highs and cathartic sorrows. I fell in love with this complicated, compelling cast, both human and otherwise."  —Katrina Kittle, author of Morning In This Broken World

"A timeless and emersive story exploring the complexities of human engagement and the lengths we will go for those we love."  — Donna Everhart, USA Today bestselling author of The Education of Dixie Dupree

"Filled with empathy for all and a plot that will keep you flipping pages as fast as you can." —Audrey Schulman, Author of Philip K Dick award winning Theory of Bastards

"Brilliant, fascinating and deeply moving...gracefully written, this is a book that astonishes, even as it shows the way to cross divides...Full of science, love and drama, I couldn't love this book more if I tried."  —Caroline Leavitt, The New York Times bestselling author of With Or Without You

“An engrossing novel that is sure to tug at anyone’s heartstrings.”  —Christine Nguyen for Readers' Favorite

Product Details
ISBN: 9781943075775
ISBN-10: 1943075778
Publisher: Blank Slate Press
Publication Date: July 11th, 2023
Pages: 372
Language: English