The gorgeous-looking cover with white, red, orange, and purple caught my attention first. And I fell in love with the beautiful Octopus, the German edition shows in the design of the dust jacket. Little did I know at that moment how fantastic, emotional, and sensitive the novel behind it would be. To make a long story short: I read this book overnight. It left me with all the emotions one could have. If you are looking for a story about a family, love, and loss combined with some great figures and some hilarious dialogues set in a fantastic landscape – this is your book.

Das Glück Hat Acht Arme*
by Shelby Van Pelt
Translation Andrea Fischer
Original Title Remarkably Bright Creatures**
Publisher Fischer Krüger on September 28, 2022
Genre Novel
Pages 460
Format Hardcover
Source Fischer Krüger

And then happiness embraces you.
"Who am I? My name is Marcellus, but few call me that. I'm a giant Pacific octopus. That's what the sign next to my tank says. I know what objection is coming. Yes, I can read. I can do many things, which no one would expect."
Marcellus is a curious, cheeky giant octopus. And very smart. He finds people rather uninteresting. Except for Tova, the old lady who greets him when she cleans in front of his aquarium and talks about her son who disappeared on a boat decades ago. Smart as he is, Marcellus discovers a secret that the Tova does not know. Now he has eight arms full to uncover the truth for Tova... before it's too late.
Tova does everything to give her life some sense. She loves old things, especially those her father had created a long time ago. But she also appreciates it very much, that she can decide what to do when she wants to do it. The cleaning at the local aquarium is something she loves. It is a simple but meaningful job and the daily talk with Octopus Marcellus frankly said her highlight. Little does Tova know that Marcellus wants to help her because he is seeing something, Tova doesn´t see. And his life is much shorter than hers.

I was fascinated from the start by the sensitive style that Shelby Van Pelt shows here. Even the saddest moments are provided with a touch of lightness and yet remain appropriate to the situation. The unique scenery completes the sincerity and liveliness of the story. What I particularly liked are the many moments where the older characters keep talking about the past and comparing it with the present action. I found it particularly nice that the main character doesn't know much about modern technology but is willing to make friends with it and deal with it. It was mainly the way the main character not only thought about it but also how she came to terms with it that often brought a smile to my face.

And of course, the octopus Marcellus gave the novel his view of things and thus put his very own stamp on the story. I found him almost the best thing about the whole book *smile*

It was so nice getting to know Tova and the other characters and watching their actions throughout the storyline. I was particularly impressed by how Tova faces the changes. How she thinks about modern achievements such as the Internet, smartphones, or even computers and is reluctant or hesitant to let them into her life. She is by no means old-fashioned. Tova just assesses the value of things very differently than the younger generation does. She is always pragmatic, has a wonderful sense of humor, and is so ironic that I often had to laugh heartily. And her conversations with Marcellus - were delicious!

A wonderfully sensitive novel from start to finish, which scores with fantastically developed characters and a grandiose setting. The story made me laugh as well as cry and everything that lies emotionally in between. That was great cinema and for me the perfect reading for a nice afternoon on the couch. Definitely read!

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer Krüger in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

Deutsche Rezension

Mich hat der feinfühlige Stil von Beginn an fasziniert, den Shelby Van Pelt hier zeigt. Selbst die traurigsten Momente sind mit einem Hauch Leichtigkeit versehen und bleiben doch der Situation angemessen. Das einzigartige Landschaftsbild vervollständigt die Aufrichtigkeit und Lebendigkeit der Geschichte. Was ich besonders gerne mochte, sind die vielen Augenblicke, wo die älteren Figuren immer wieder von der Vergangenheit erzählen und dabei mit der Handlungsgegenwart vergleichen. Dass die Hauptfigur mit der modernen Technik nicht viel anfangen kann, aber bereit ist, sich damit anzufreunden und zu beschäftigen, das fand ich besonders schön. Es war hauptsächlich die Art und Weise, wie die Hauptfigur nicht nur darüber dachte, sondern auch, wie sie sich damit angefreundet hat, die mir oft ein Schmunzeln ins Gesicht gezaubert haben.

Und natürlich hat der Oktopus Marcellus dem Roman dann noch seine Ansicht der Dinge gegeben und der Story damit seinen ganz eigenen Stempel aufgedrückt. Ihn fand ich fast das Beste am ganzen Buch *schmunzel*

Es war so schön, Tova und die anderen Figuren kennenzulernen und deren Agieren während des Handlungsverlaufs zu beobachten. Mich hat vor allem beeindruckt, wie Tova sich den Veränderungen stellt. Wie sie über die modernen Errungenschaften wie Internet, Smartphones oder gar Computer denkt und diese nur ungern bzw. zögerlich in ihr Leben lässt. Dabei ist sie keineswegs altmodisch. Sie schätzt nur den Wert der Dinge ganz anders ein, als es die junge Generation tut. Dabei ist sie stets pragmatisch, hat einen herrlichen Humor und gibt eine Ironie zum Besten, dass ich oftmals herzlich Lache musste. Und ihre Gespräche mit Marcellus – köstlich!

Von Anfang bis Ende ein herrlich einfühlsamer Roman, der mit fantastisch ausgearbeiteten Figuren und einem grandiosen Schauplatz zu punkten weiß. Die Geschichte hat mich sowohl zum Lachen gebracht als auch zum Weinen und alles, was gefühlsmäßig dazwischen liegt. Das war ganz großes Kino und für mich die perfekte Lektüre für einen schönen Nachmittag auf der Couch. Unbedingt lesen!

**The English edition was published by Ecco Harper Collins UK on May 3, 2022 

Shelby Van Pelt
Shelby Van Pelt ©Karen Forsythe

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two children. Remarkably Bright Creatures is her first novel.


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