What We’re Reading: June

Annie —
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Of the three narrators in Remarkably Bright Creatures, perhaps the most notable is Marcellus, the Giant Pacific Octopus who resides at an aquarium close to Puget Sound. An intelligent and capable creature, Marcellus’s midnight adventures to his neighbouring tanks are only noticed by the astute but isolated Tova who devotes herself to her late-night cleaning job, even at age 70. When a troubled young man arrives in their small community searching for his mysterious father, these three characters will prise each other’s armour apart and find an alternative to the relative safety of loneliness.

This novel is a big warm hug, full of rich characters and real heart; just what I’ve been searching for in recent weeks.

Carly —
The Family String by Denise Picton

I fell in love with 12 year old Dorcas in local author Denise Picton’s debut novel The Family String.

Dorcas’ ‘naughty streak’ is pure spark and curiosity, frustratingly and sometimes hilariously misplaced in a 1960’s stifling religious culture. Picton will take you back, capturing the innocence of a childhood spend bewildered by the world of ‘adults’. Dorcas and her siblings’ days are marked by treading on eggshells and occasionally reveling in the day mum is in a good mood. Being the least favourite child is tough, heartbreaking, surely a pet guinea pig would solve everything…? The undercurrent of a family being torn apart in slow motion counteracted with the saving grace of unexpected relationships brings so much hope.

Leela —
Women I Know by Katerina Gibson

I am currently reading a short story collection by Katerina Gibson that will be released in July. The stories slip into the surreal, yet are disconcertingly familiar images of modern life and womanhood. The opening story tracks a woman as she meticulously maintains an online façade that at last allows her to fade away from routine. In another, a migrant worker in a creepy factory feels compelled to manufacture her own body double. These stories are punchy, yet provide a reassuring insight into our shared realities. Women I Know is a great collection to dip in and out of.