Remarkably Bright Creatures

“Humans. For the most part, you are dull and blundering. But occasionally, you can be remarkably bright creatures.”― Shelby Van Pelt, Remarkably Bright Creatures.

So, picture this: a novel about a talking octopus who’s also an escape artist. Sounds pretty out there, right? Well, that’s what I thought too until I read Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

This book has been making waves (pun intended) as a 2022 Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Best Fiction and Best Debut Novel, and let me tell you, it’s now firmly planted among my all-time favorites. Here’s why:

The story follows Tova Sullivan, who’s been working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium to cope with the loss of her husband and the mysterious disappearance of her son thirty years ago. One day, she discovers that Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus, not only has a knack for escaping his tank but can also talk and reason. Their unlikely friendship blossoms in the most heartwarming way.

But that’s not all—enter Cam Cassmore, a rock musician down on his luck, who’s searching for his estranged father in the same town. When Cam takes over Tova’s job while she is recovering from an injury, Marcellus senses a connection between the two, leading to a series of events that will tug at your heartstrings.

What makes this book shine is its charming mix of whimsy and depth. It’s not just about a talking octopus; it deals with themes like grief, aging, and loneliness with grace and humor. The narrative is also unique, with Marcellus himself narrating some chapters.

Shelby Van Pelt has crafted a debut novel that’s as heartwarming as it is witty, as touching as it is insightful. I couldn’t put it down, and I bet you won’t be able to either. So if you’re looking for a truly enchanting read, Remarkably Bright Creatures gets my wholehearted recommendation. Five enthusiastic stars!

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