Creatures (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Crissy Van Meter

Algonquin Books, 9781616208592, 256pp.

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

List Price: 25.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

“Wiry, rhythmic, and wrenchingly beautiful, Creatures plumbs the sea-struck heart of a family fractured by longing and grief.” —Leni Zumas, bestselling author of Red Clocks
 
On the eve of Evangeline’s wedding, a dead whale is trapped in the harbor of Winter Island, the groom may be lost at sea, and Evie’s mostly absent mother has shown up out of the blue. From there, in this mesmerizing, provocative debut, Evie remembers and reckons with her complicated upbringing in this lush, wild land off the coast of Southern California. 

Evie grew up with her well-meaning but negligent father, surviving on the money he made dealing the island’s world-famous strain of marijuana, Winter Wonderland. Although he raised her with a deep respect for the elements, the sea, and the creatures living within it, he also left her to parent herself. With wit, love, and bracing ashes of anger, Creatures probes the complexities of love and abandonment, guilt and forgiveness, betrayal and grief—and the ways in which our ability to love can be threatened if we are not brave enough to conquer the past. 

Lyrical, darkly funny, and ultimately cathartic, Creatures exerts a pull as strong as the tides.


About the Author

Crissy Van Meter grew up in Southern California. Her writing has appeared in ViceBustleGuernica, and Catapult. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the New School. She lives in Los Angeles.
 


Praise For Creatures: A Novel

“Crissy Van Meter pulls us into depths of loneliness, sweetness, pain, history, and pulsing vulnerability in prose swift and clear as an ocean current, in Creatures. On Winter Island, time and landscape ache with memory; need spills over in subtle moments of intense connection, fracture, deprivation, and wound; unconditional love may be a concept as unreachable as the mainland, and as isolating. Like water, loss and longing fill the space between each prism of a word in this gorgeous, jewel-tone debut.” 
—Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State

“At the intersection of the natural world and the human heart, Van Meter explores alcoholism, absence, daughterly loyalties and longing in this slim and beautiful tale that contains a whole aqueous universe in its depths.”
Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces
 
“Wiry, rhythmic, and wrenchingly beautiful, Creatures plumbs the sea-struck heart of a family fractured by longing and grief.”
Leni Zumas, bestselling author of Red Clocks 

Creatures is a love story like none other—a synesthetic whale song that submerges you deep inside the exhilaration and exhaustion of love. Father love. Mother love. And most of all, the love of place.”
Mesha Maren, author of Sugar Run

"Crissy Van Meter has written a tale of hard-won family forgiveness that doubles, somehow, as a sly parable about climate change, about the eggshell fragility of the island-home we take for granted. Brava."
—Jonathan Dee, author of The Locals