IN-PERSON: Shelby Van Pelt

Shelby Van Pelt joins us to introduce her debut novel, REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES, a charming, feel good story about about a widow working the night shift at a Puget Sound aquarium who makes a life changing friendship with Marcellus, a Giant Pacific octopus. We know, it sounds a bit...unlikely. But you have to trust us when we tell you it'll be one of the best books you'll read all year. Tova passes the time cleaning at the aquarium. Her husband has died and her only son disappeared mysteriously 30 years ago. She and Marcellus, likewise lonely, find themselves able to communicate and strike an unlikely friendship, with Marcellus piecing together the mystery of Tova's son--and earning an unexpected second chance for both of them. 

For fans of A Man Called Ove, a luminous debut novel about a widow’s unlikely friendship with a curmudgeonly giant Pacific octopus reluctantly residing at the local aquarium—and, when a mysterious grifter comes to town, the truths all three unlock about her son’s disappearance 30 years ago.

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 the Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

As she works, 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 tentacles for his human captors—until he forms an unlikely friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. As his affection for Tova grows, Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late. 

Charming, compulsively readable, and full of wit, Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a beautiful exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope—a reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. This is her first novel.

Friday, June 10, 2022 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
111 South Street
Plainville, MA 02762
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Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063204157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - May 3rd, 2022