• Hope Clearwater lives on Brazzaville Beach, a beach only recently named as such, in a small remodeled home.
• Hope is taking a break from her life to sort out its meaning.
• Hope's story is really of two major events in her life: a failed marriage in England, which sent her to Africa; and a lengthy period observing chimpanzees, as part of a scientific study.
• Hope wonders how to begin her story and determines it must begin with Clovis.
• Clovis is one of several chimps being observed by Hope. In her opinion, he is more stupid than the others, but endearing anyway.
• Clovis sits under a mulemba tree, inert and occasionally sniffing his finger, enjoying the odor from whatever he stuck it into earlier in the day.
• Clovis climbs up into the tree and, swinging from branches, is soon lost from sight.
• Hope decides to return to camp...
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