Before primatologist Patricia Chapple Wright became the world’s foremost expert on lemurs, she was enchanted by another primate—Aotus, the owl monkey, or “monkey of the night.” But along her journey to discover the behavior of these unique nocturnal creatures, Wright finds more than she expected about family, human nature, and herself.
It all starts in a New York City pet shop when Wright and her husband buy an owl monkey whose lively and rambunctious ways soon lead the young couple to South America to acquire him a mate. But while Wright’s monkey family is growing, her own begins to fall apart when her husband leaves her and her daughter. Undeterred by her lack of academic experience, Wright sets out as a single mother to study primate behavior in the wild, including a year at a research station in the remote jungles of Peru. There she encounters jaguars, poisonous snakes, army ants, and massive floods that threaten her and her daughter’s lives, as well as moments of great clarity and beauty.
From New York City in the 1960s to the depths of the Amazon in the 1970s and 80s, this story of one woman’s transformation from Brooklyn housewife to an accomplished scientist will captivate fans of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. High Moon over the Amazon is a thrilling memoir of adventure, inspiration, and of falling in love with a species not so unlike our own.