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Submitted Literature

Monkey's Uncle

By Jenny Diski


“Monkey’s Uncle” is a well-written story – Charlotte, admitted to psychiatric hospital, fissures into “Charlotte-up-there” and “Charlotte-below”.  The up-there Charlotte battles with depression and the monsters of memory, while Charlotte-below is completely immersed in a fantasy life, an inner world of madness, with a talking orang-utan Jenny and imagined characters of Marx, Darwin and Freud, who fail to live up to her life-organising and affirming ideals of them.

Key Themes:

  • Bereavement
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Revealing Reads

Significant Quotes / Pages

44 – “Charlotte had always imagined (and she had imagined) that madness might be anguish, misery, confusion, fear; but it had never crossed her mind that it might be a grassy bank, an ornamental lake, perplexity and not knowing what to do next”

Reference: Jenny, Diski. 1994. Monkey's Uncle. London: Phoenix, 1994


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Friday 20th March 2009