Remarkably Bright Creatures
by Shelby Van Pelt
This debut novel from Shelby Van Pelt is a beautiful story, full of feel-good moments and a whole lot of life lessons. The story is alluringly sensitive, building on your heart piece by piece. The narration is partially given from a giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus McSquiddles. Through his perspective we see real human feeling, emotion and even some mischief (the octopus can pick locks, sneak out of his tank, and go for late night snack runs…all amazing and hilarious).
In another central perspective, we see Tova Sullivan, a 70-year-old woman who is recently widowed and volunteers as the night janitor at the local aquarium where Marcellus resides. Tova’s life is quiet, despite her years-long attempt at solving the disappearance of her 18-year-old son. Marcellus and Tova have an understanding, a connection that is both warming and profound. With Marcellus’s help and the weaving of other characters, Tova makes a discovery she never would have imagined.
With wonderfully crafted characters, a never-boring plot, and a dash of mystery, Remarkably Bright Creatures is a charming and nourishing read; a reminder to give thanks and appreciate the connections in your life.
Reviewed by Carrie Pung