A gripping family mystery meets a story of second chances in this warm, feel-good debut
After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night cleaner shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. Ever since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat over thirty years ago keeping busy has helped her cope. One night she meets Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium who sees everything, 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 body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late...
Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel is a reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.
Abeautiful 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
Remarkably Bright Creatures is the rarest of feats: a book that manages to be wry and wise, charming and surprising, and features one of the most intriguing and satisfying characters I've encountered in fiction in a very long time - Marcellus the Octopus. I don't know how Shelby Van Pelt managed to make this uncommon tale sing so beautifully, but sing it does, and I defy you to put it down once you've started -- Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of THE NEST
Truly original and touching, Remarkably Bright Creatures is a story of family, community, and optimism in spite of darkness. Prepare to fall in love -- Helen Hoang, author of THE KISS QUOTIENT
A unique and luminous book ― Booklist
A warm and satisfying book. It wrapped itself around me, luring me into the many mysteries hidden just beneath the surface.
-- Polly Crosby, author of The Illustrated Child
Shelby's characters are unique and yet completely relatable ...It is a fresh and fascinating story full of heart and humour and I lovedit. -- Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things
Remarkable characters, who will stay with you for a long time.
-- Anstey Harris, author of The Trials and Triumphs of Grace Atherton
An ultimately feel-good but deceptively sensitive debut about what it feels like to have love taken from you, only to find it again in the most unexpected places ... Memorable and tender. ― Washington Post
About the Author
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. This is her first novel.