Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Published by Ecco on May 3, 2022
my rating: 4.5 stars
Goodreads avg: 4.47 (as of Jan 19, 2023)
My neurons number half a billion, and they are distributed among my eight arms. On occasion, I have wondered whether I might have more intelligence in a single tentacle than a human does in its entire skull.
Remarkably Bright Creatures follows three perspectives: an older woman named Tova, a giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus, and a young man named Cameron. These perspectives are all incredibly different. Tova lives alone, her husband recently deceased, and cleans the aquarium in the evenings, thinking about her long-ago missing son. Cameron struggles to hold a job and wants to find the father he’s never known. Marcellus observes, and eventually intervenes in Tova’s life. I found this to be an incredibly beautiful book; it was slow to hook me but once it did I was all in. While I found Marcellus’ chapters to be cheesy and inconsistent at times (he knows what a barrette is, but not what a pacifier is. He knows what a driver’s license is, but not what a football is), it took little away from my enjoyment. This is a slow-moving examination of our character and their lives that ends in an emotional climax; I found myself sobbing over the last couple chapters. I highly recommend this to lovers of literary fiction and am so glad that my great-aunt gifted it to me, knowing my love of octopuses!