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Have you held a book after reading it? Clutching it to your chest and wanting to sink into the story?
This is that book.
It is a beautiful story of grief, friendship, identity, and love. We follow Tova, a woman who over the years lost her son to a mysterious accident at sea and then, decades later, lost her husband of over 40 years. She is lonely, but she is not alone. She has her friend Marcellus, the Giant Pacific octopus, to keep her company as she cleans the Sowell aquarium. We also follow Cameron. His life has been riddled with pain, anger, and disappointments. Abandoned by his parents, angry at the world, trying to find his way through life. His journey has brought him to Sowell, and the aquarium. Tova and Cameron strike up a friendship. All while Marcellus helps solve the mystery of what happened to Tova's son. Recommended By Mariette E., Powells.com
This is such a sweet, fun, empathetic book about found family and our relationship to the world around us. If you (like me) wish you could be friends with an octopus, you'll love Remarkably Bright Creatures. Recommended By Kelsey F., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
For fans of A Man Called Ove, a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus
After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors — until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.
Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.
“A unique and luminous book.” Booklist (Starred Review)
"Shelby Van Pelt has done the impossible. She's created a perfect story with imperfect characters, that is so heartwarming, so mysterious, and so completely absorbing, you won't be able to put it down because when you're not reading this book you'll be hugging it." Jamie Ford, author of The Many Daughters of Afong Moy and The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
"A debut novel about a woman who befriends an octopus is a charming, warmhearted read." Kirkus Reviews
"Remarkably Bright Creatures is a beautiful examination of how loneliness can be transformed, cracked open, with the slightest touch from another living thing. Shelby Van Pelt makes good on this wild conceit, somehow making me love a misanthropic octopus, but her writing is so finely tuned that it's a natural element of a larger story about family, about loss, and the electricity of something found." Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here
About the Author
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. Remarkably Bright Creatures is her first novel.
Shelby Van Pelt on PowellsBooks.Blog
Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel, Remarkably Bright Creatures
, is so fun and sweet and just the right amount of surreal. There’s a smart, wily octopus named Marcellus; a woman looking for connection after the recent loss of her husband; a grocery store owner with a crush; and an adult “lost boy” just looking for somewhere to belong...
Powell's Staff on PowellsBooks.Blog
If you’ve ever asked a bookseller for a “happy” or “joyful” recommendation, then you’ll know what pure terror looks like. Books are so many things (thought-provoking, challenging, strange, unnerving, devastating, eye-opening, mind-shredding), but rarely are they happy