Question: What book shall we read in April?
Option 1: Mrs. Caliban
Option 2: Pulse
Option 3: The Reporter
Option 4: The Undead
Option 5: Virtual Light
Mrs. Caliban, by Rachel Ingalls. In the quiet suburbs, while Dorothy is doing chores and waiting for her husband to come home from work, not in the least anticipating romance, she hears a strange radio announcement about a monster who has just escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research. (111 pages)
Pulse, by Julian Barnes. After the best-selling Arthur & George and Nothing to Be Frightened Of, Julian Barnes returns with fourteen stories about longing and loss, friendship and love, whose mysterious natures he examines with his trademark wit and observant eye. (228 pages)
The Reporter, by Scott Sigler. The Reporter follows Yolanda Davenport, a reporter for Galaxy Sports Magazine, as she searches for the truth about Ju Tweedy's involvement with the murder of Grace McDermott - the incident that drove Ju to join the Ionath Krakens. The Reporter takes place between week three and week six of the 2684 Galactic Football League season, the season that encompasses The All-Pro. (138 pages)
The Undead, by Roxanne Longstreet. Most people avoid the cold, sterile peace of the hospital morgue, but Adam Radburn finds peace in the undemanding responsibilities of caring for the dead. It's the perfect job for someone with an affinity for the night...or a vampire. (318 pages)
Virtual Light, by William Gibson. Berry Rydell, an ex-cop, signs on with IntenSecure Armed Response in Los Angeles. He finds himself on a collision course that results in a desperate romance, and a journey into the ecstasy and dread that mirror each other at the heart of the postmodern experience. (304 pages)
Looks like it's set. Mrs. Caliban, by Rachel Ingalls it is. It looks interesting.
My FB review:
This is an intriguing, quirky little book. The plot is simple, if weird. One day a woman, whose marriage is dead but not over because neither partner can work up the energy to divorce, meets a large amphibious man in her kitchen:
"She came back into the kitchen fast, to make sure that she caught the toasting cheese in time. And she was halfway across the checked linoleum floor of her nice safe kitchen, when the screen door opened and a gigantic six-foot-seven-inch froglike creature shouldered its way into the house and stood stock-still in front of her, crouching slightly, and staring at her face.
. . .
The creature made a growling noise and she came to her senses. She took a step backwards. The growling increased. She took another step and bumped into the table. At the far end of the table lay the celery, carrots and tomatoes, the head of lettuce and her favourite sharp knife, which would cut through anything just like a razor.
. . .
She stretched way out across the table, took her eyes off his for an instant and picked up the long stalk of celery next to the knife. The growling stopped. She took a step forward slowly, and held out the celery in front of her."
It's at this point I knew this isn't going to be an ordinary gill-man story, and it's not. The woman, Dorothy, immediately offers to help conceal the creature, Larry (of all things), and hides him in a spare room her husband never goes near, sneaking him food thru out the night. The next day they become lovers.
Larry is an escapee from an oceanographic institute, kidnapped by scientists from his home in the Gulf of Mexico and subjected to both lab tests and sexual abuse. He killed his two most vicious tormentors while escaping so the man-frog hunt is on.
Dorothy figures that with careful planning she can use the excuse of a few weeks vacation (she and her husband have been taking separate vacations for years now) to transport Larry from her home in New Jersey to the Gulf, so he won't have to swim halfway around the continent to get home.
Sadly, while she and Larry are cementing their relationship things have been going on in the background that brings it all to a tragic end, with Dorothy and Larry separated forever. Oh, and Dorothy's husband dying in a car crash that she was partly responsible for. And other things – her life is really screwed up now.
This is an odd story, but a well-told one and I do recommend it.
Quote from: Sandra Craft on April 18, 2021, 05:46:15 PM
It's at this point I knew this isn't going to be an ordinary gill-man story, and it's not. The woman, Dorothy, immediately offers to help conceal the creature, Larry (of all things), and hides him in a spare room her husband never goes near, sneaking him food thru out the night.
QuoteThe next day they become lovers.
I had read the book knowing nothing about it beforehand, but the details slowly triggered some memories of some drama between this book and the Shape of Water.
The book follows a lonely housewife named Dorothy who meets and saves a tortured creature named Larry. It's not long until they are sexual. Dorothy and Larry plot to get the Larry back to his home and end up causing a lot of mayhem leaving Dorothy alone and worse than before.
This is one of those stories that's a bit interesting to me, but I never felt invested in one the story or in any of the characters.
Larry the creature never seems to care much for Dorothy and even says that sexual acts aren't a big deal for him and his people and that all of his fellow creatures are exactly like him. There's a lot of text in the book that seems to make the creature out to be largely dispassionate about almost everything except the act of sex and returning home. The creature is also seems to like to take risks at every opportunity, making it seem like anything bad that happens to him (after the capture and torture that he escaped), is his own fault.
Dorothy doesn't like her husband, but also doesn't leave him. I get that in that time period it was a lot more difficult for a woman to up and leave her husband, and I'm sure that had a lot to do with her staying with him even though it wasn't directly stated. She meets Larry in her kitchen and saves him by giving him a room and food in a room her husband never goes into. Then they start hooking up and do so frequently. I can see her being lonely and Larry coming in and livening up her life as being appealing to her.
While I can see the loneliness from Dorothy, Larry acts like he doesn't even feel lonely. Something about how Larry is described alienates him not only as an alien creature, but socially and emotionally. I just couldn't see the connection between them (which is not an indictment of the story), which makes me think that she was more attracted to shaking up her life than she was into Larry.
The book is filled with a lot odd things that kept me at a distance from it. One or two odd things is fine, but I found almost nothing that wasn't odd.
I think it's a decent read through, though I can't really recommend it.