Remarkably Bright Creatures -Shelby Van Pelt (Audible)

This is one of the most entertaining audio books I’ve ever read. One thing I loved was the voice of the Octopus, whose voice we hear in many chapters. He is perfectly narrated in a kind of “Mr. Belvadere’ voice (showing my age). The female narrator is excellent as well, voicing an array of male and female characters with nice and believable choices. Cameron, a thirty year old man from Modesto, California, is rather irresponsible. He attributes this in part to never knowing his father and to his mother’s abandoning him to live with her half sister when he was nine. His Aunt Jean is loving and does her best, but he has not grown up to what one would expect of a thirty year old. For reasons I will not divulge, he decides he needs to travel to Sowell Bay, Washington, a town along the Puget Sound.

Sowell Bay is a small town in every respect. Everyone knows each other’s business. Ethan, the Scottish owner of its only supermarket is a hopeless gossip. Tova, a seventy year old widow living in a house her great-grandfather designed and built loves her night job. Cleaning the local aquarium is perfect for her due to her notorious love of cleaning and her desire not to mingle too much with people. She loves the creatures in the tanks and in particular she becomes fond of the Giant Pacific Octopus, Marcellus. We learn that he is sentient and he appreciates her as well. Tova’s group of women friends, the knitwits are starting to move away. Some have died. Tova’s only son, Erik, died at age eighteen, a possible suicide though she believes his death in a boat was an accident. She is leaning toward moving into a retirement community an hour away, a place she first saw saw when her brother Lars died. If I did spoilers, I’d be more expansive. I will admit I had to take wild leaps of faith to buy into various resolutions of various subplots, yet … last night … I sat in my room and listened to the last three hours of the novel and cried sad/happy tears. This is just a lovely book. And a fabulous audio book. Enjoy.

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