Creatures Here Below (Paperback)

By O. H. Bennett

Agate Bolden, 9781932841626, 272pp.

Publication Date: November 8, 2011

List Price: 15.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


This powerful new novel by O. H. Bennett tells the story of a makeshift family struggling to stay together as life wears away at their bonds of blood and love. At the center of the family is Gail Neighbors, the hardworking single mother of two sons, Mason and Tyler. Mason, the older, grew up without knowing his father, a feckless gambler and womanizer. Tyler, the younger, sings in the church choir and enjoys a close relationship with his father, Dan, who left Gail a few years before still spends plenty of time at the house. To make ends meet, Gail has taken in two boarders: Annie, an elderly woman with a diminishing grip on reality, and Jackie, the 20-year-old single mother of baby Cole, who can't fully accept her overwhelming new responsibilities. Creatures Here Below renders with tremendous richness and care the realities of a black teenaged male whose life is taking a turn toward the worse.

Praise For Creatures Here Below


"In his third novel, Bennett brings an African-American community to vivid life with strong and compelling characters and narrative themes to matchgrowing up, the struggles of parenthood and young adulthood, the responsibilities we all have to each other as people....Bennett handles the multiple plot lines with grace and skill, and readers will appreciate the subtle growth of the characters, as well as the diverse array of experience." Publishers Weekly

"Bennett diligently anatomizes both the antagonisms and love relationships of single-family households, pushing well beyond formulas and racial stereotypes." Kirkus Reviews

"Without glorifying, minimizing, or pandering, Creatures chronicles cycles of violence and abandonment, fight or flight, taking patient survey of the survival instincts and socioeconomic realities that allow destructive patterns to take root...Bennett’s enduring strength begins with the methodical layering of telling details." —Nathan Huffstutter, The Nervous Breakdown blog

"Bennett's characters become likeable in their frailties and failures, and the back-and-forth ripens into a welcome addition. Grab this’ll be rewarded by a bold story. In the end, Creatures Here Below is a novel you’ll be talking about." —Terri Schlichenmeyer, Philadelphia Tribune

"Creatures Here Below is a moving and poignant coming of age novel, very much recommended." —Midwest Book Review

"An accomplished and compelling novel...The characters are layered and complex and relationships are beautifully interwoven. They offer hope in spite of broken dreams, and redemption." —Martin Macaulay, PANK magazine


"This novel shows how the hidden history of a family, once unearthed, can forever change a person's view of himself and his relatives." The New York Times Book Review

"Bennett's first novel is beautiful and real; impossible to put down until the final page." Booklist

"O.H. Bennett's brilliant first novel strikes into the heart with exactly the force of revelation." Richard Bausch