Remarkably Bright Creatures Audiobook Summary
A New York Times Bestseller!
A Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!
“Remarkably Bright Creatures is a beautiful examination of how loneliness can be transformed, cracked open, with the slightest touch from another living thing.” — Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here
For fans of A Man Called Ove, a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow’s unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus
After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine 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 invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.
Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.
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Remarkably Bright Creatures Audiobook Narrator
Marin Ireland is the narrator of Remarkably Bright Creatures audiobook that was written by Shelby Van Pelt
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. Remarkably Bright Creatures is her first novel.
About the Author(s) of Remarkably Bright Creatures
Shelby Van Pelt is the author of Remarkably Bright Creatures
More From the Same
This book is only available in the United States.
May 02, 2022
Marcellus the octopus!!! *heart eyes forever*I don’t read a lot of literary fiction, but I was utterly charmed by this book. It was so creative and full of heart. I’d classify this as an extremely readable smart people book. Plus look at that gorgeous cover! Perfect for beach season.
November 17, 2022
Audiobook….read by Marin Ireland and Michael Urle ….11 hours and 16 minutes This is a thoroughly enjoyable book! A debut classic is born!! I have fully fallen in love with this gem as others have. Thank you to *Cheri* for her wonderful review who first turned me on to this priceless quirky novel. Note of interest… unrelated per say… But scientist recently figured out why female octopuses self-destruct. After she lays her eggs she does with any new parent would…carefully watch over her progeny. She stays with them and protects them from predators blowing water over them to keep them oxygenated, writes Nicolas Bakalar for the New York Times”. “But then her behavior turns bizarre; she stops eating and begins to self mutilate, tearing off her skin or even eating her own arms. She’s dead before the eggs can hatch”. Our ‘A-Star-is-Born’ octopusin “Remarkably Bright Creatures” — is a male …. so Marcellus has about a 4 year life span…(as Marcellus himself will tell us)…If Marcellus was a female octopus she would die [self-destruct] soon after she lays her eggs. By the time a young octopus wiggles out of its egg, its mother is already dead. ….Shelby Van Pelt (tons of talent), is going to have her challenges following up with her next novel…but I don’t doubt for a second that she won’t continue to surprise readers again and again. As sappy as it sounds having an octopus as a leading character—Shelby absolutely makes it works brilliantly… (feelings are all so real)… and if readers look closer —wise symbolism is sprinkling throughout. ….Themes of love, loss, grief, loneliness, and friendships, are strong. The characters are gloriously genuine. ….You can bet, I’ll choose to read Shelby’s next book!The audiobook-narrators empowers this story exceptionally!!
February 03, 2023
This might be my favorite book this year, and will also be one of the best books I’ve ever read. Why did I love it so much? Let’s start with the writing. Every page impressed me. The prose was spot-on and there were so many sentences I wanted to underline or reread. The dialogues were saturated with meaning and humor. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the writing style. Then we have the characters. The author has a real gift when it comes to creating real, complex characters. She crafted unique personalities where their choices fitted perfectly with their traits. Some authors struggles with getting into the head of characters, but this author managed to bring new people into my life who felt very real. I didn’t want to say goodbye to them in the ending. In addition to the humans, there was of course the most original and wonderful POV; the bright octopus. It was a delight to read those chapters. I actually cried after reading about the last thing he did for Tova and she for him. How many authors are able to make you cry because of an octopus? The plot was intricate and well-thought through. I was invested from the first to last page and found myself saying ‘No’ in horror when some of the misunderstandings threatened the happiness of my new fictional best friends. Sometimes I thought; why didn’t you realize that? But then the author described why based on the personality and history of the character and it made me realize how easily we can misjudge and act in a way that potentially harms us.I loved the ending although it was hard to say good bye. I could have wandered around in their universe for so much longer.
June 07, 2022
This must be my Year of the Octopus. After watching and loving My Octopus Teacher on Netflix, I’m more than a little obsessed with these amazing, intelligent creatures. This is my second book featuring octopuses (no, it’s not octopi), in as many months. Tova, the 70-year-old cleaning lady at the aquarium, is grieving the recent loss of her husband, and the son who disappeared 30 years ago. Outside of work, I enjoyed the interactions she had with her friends, the Knit Wits. Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus who lives in the aquarium, is nearing the end of his short (4-ish) life, having never known freedom, despite his nightly escapes to other tanks to get a tasty snack. Cameron is the new employee, a struggling young man who is on a quest to find the father he never knew.The chapters alternate between these three characters, and while I enjoyed all three, I wanted more of Marcellus. He is a grumpy old man with a heart of gold. The best part is we are privy to his witty and snarky thoughts, usually about humans. Snark gets me every time.How these three lives intertwine makes for a heartwarming, feel-good story. There’s a mystery to solve, one Marcellus has figured out. He only has to find a way to get the humans to piece the puzzle together. He might be curmudgeonly, but he has a soft spot for these two, especially Tova, with whom he shares a strong bond. You know where the story is going, but it’s OK, because the journey there is charming and delightful. Marcellus, of course, stole my heart, putting a smile on my face, and a lump in my throat.Readers who enjoy Fredrik Backman, (although he’s hit or miss with me), will likely love this one too.* I received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
May 14, 2022
Given the current state of the world, one needs a charming story that tugs at the heart yet is uplifting. “Remarkably Bright Creatures” is the perfect novel that will take your mind away from current politics and an unsettled world. Plus, an octopus is one of the main characters! Who doesn’t love a good cephalopod story? For those who are familiar with octopuses and their clever antics, you enjoy this story.Marcellus McSquiddles, a giant Pacific octopus who is held in Sowell Bay Aquarium (and a bit of a curmudgeon) begins the story narrating his life in captivity. He has a special relationship with the nightly cleaner, Tova Sullivan. Tova is a widower whose eighteen-year-old son went missing over thirty years ago, and she still feels the loss daily. Tova is an excellent cleaner who takes her job seriously. She’s seventy years old and is on the verge of retiring. Yet she loves all her exhibits of sea life. Tova is part of a group of women who call themselves “the Knit-Wits” who also provide some smiles in this wonderful read, and she works at the aquarium at night. Marcellus has been getting bold in his endeavors to find tasty fresh seafood. Yes, he has fun escaping a nibbling on other exhibits and keeping Tova on her toes. Other main characters are Ethan, a Scotsman who owns the local grocery story, and has a romantic interest in Tova, although she doesn’t see it. A young man named Cameron comes to Sowell Bay in search of his father. He finds a job in the grocery store working for Ethan. Author Shelby Van Pelt expertly weaves the characters’ stories together. Although each character has sad emotional issues such as loss, grief, aging, and secrets, the story remains hopeful. Van Pelt keeps the secrets hidden from the reader, and the unveiling of the secrets is a reader’s joy. Marcellus has the best secrets.The chapters are short which leads to the reading enjoyment along with the wonderful prose and observations. Life is sad and can be devastatingly difficult to endure, yet Van Pelt writes of the human spirit, the human need to find light and happiness.This is a remarkably endearing read!
November 15, 2022
Absolutely adored this book in all of its sappy, coincidence-ridden glory.Listened to the audiobook narrated by the stellar Marin Ireland with a bit of help from Michael Urie as Marcellus (the Giant Pacific Octopus). If you have a choice, the audiobook is a fantastic way to experience this lovely, heartwarming book.Tova is a seventy year old widow who lost her son many years ago and spends her nights cleaning the local aquarium. Marcellus is an octopus nearing the end of his life. He is a Remarkably Bright Creature. One night he and Tova forge a bond. Cameron is a wayward young man floating from job to job and lamenting that his mother abandoned him when he was young and never told him who his father was. When he finds a clue that leads to a man in Washington state, Cameron leaves California to go confront him. This book contains one of my absolute favorite themes--found family. And one could even include Marcellus in that mix because although his role in the story isn't very large, it is certainly impactful. As I mentioned, there are a plethora of coincidences in this novel, so you'll have to set that aside to enjoy the simple beauty of the tale if those types of things bother you. Cameron has a LOT of growing up to do, which he does through the course of the novel. This is overall a sweet, feel-good tale that will be sure to bring a smile to your face.I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
September 01, 2022
** spoiler alert ** 4.5 Stars. This was a charming story about family, friendships, loss, grief, aging, loneliness, unlikely connections and moving on. The story is set in a small town overlooking Puget Sound, Washington State. The story is told from the perspective of three characters. Tova is a 70-year-old widow. Thirty years ago, her son, Erik, died at the age of 18 in a boating mishap. His body was never recovered. There were rumours of suicide or perhaps murder, but Tova firmly believes it was an unfortunate accident. Her grief was overwhelming, but she kept going by working as a cleaner in an aquarium and taking pride in her work. She has no living family and keeps to herself, except for occasional meetings with three women her own age, the Knit-Wits. One of the women can no longer cope with some household tasks and is moving away to live with her daughter. This makes Tova realize that this would not be an alternative for her without any living family members. While growing older, she plans to sell her house, get rid of years of belongings, and move into an upscale senior-care facility. Tova has made friends with a 60-pound Pacific octopus, Marcellus. Viewers of the award-winning documentary 'My Octopus Teacher' will understand how intelligent these creatures can be. Tova talks to Marcellus and thinks he understands her conversations. The octopus can manipulate his large body, enabling him to squeeze out of a small opening in his glass cage and wander about the room. He can only be outside the cage for 18 minutes, or his life is in danger. He has been in the aquarium for about three years of captivity and is nearing the end of his life span. He longs to return to the sea. Marcellus seems to understand what Tova says to him and is adept at observing people's features, mannerisms and emotions. He likes to collect and hide his miscellaneous treasures out of sight in his cage. He is very bright and knows things that Tova and another cleaner haven't figured out yet. Then there is Cameron, a thirty-year-old man who is a deadbeat, down in his luck, and close to hitting rock bottom. He cannot keep a job, is fired often, and is now unemployed due to a lack of effort on his part. His girlfriend has just kicked him out of her apartment. He is now homeless. Cameron's mother left him with his kindly aunt when he was a young boy, and he never knew the identity of his father. He has come across a few clues that seem to point to a wealthy man in Washington State as his father. He travels from California and is now in town, intent on finding that man and extorting money from him. His backpack contained a few items he hoped to pawn but ended up in Italy by airline error.He borrows $2000 from his aunt but wastes most of it on a junky van. I admit I tried to read this book several months ago and felt Cameron, his laziness, schemes and mishaps belonged in another book, and the character had been inserted as a space filler. I gave up and didn't finish. I should have had more patience. There was also an older man, Ethan, the grocery store owner, and I didn't understand his role. I wanted to read more about Tova and Marcellus instead. This time I read the book in one day. I mentioned unlikely connections earlier, and this time I was rewarded by a heartfelt and lovely story. It emphasizes how animals can elevate loneliness and sadness and how unlikely connections can enrich lives. Some outcomes were predictable, but I kept reading while enjoying this heartwarming and compelling book.
May 27, 2022
I loved this story….Several lonely people come together in this book, a couple of them helped by an octopus named Marcellus who lives in the local aquarium.Loved the characters also..Terrific debut!4+ stars
June 06, 2022
This book is simply beautiful and one I will hold close to my heart for awhile. The relationship between Tova and Marcellus is special- we can all take notes from their friendship. Head to your nearest Indie Bookshop, pickup this book and start reading!
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