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Creatures (2020)

– tekijä: Crissy Van Meter

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
13312164,900 (3.45)2
"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.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 12) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Some readers may find Crissy Van Meter’s debut novel “magical” and “lyric”. Others may simply be annoyed at its fragmented structure and its self-indulgent characters.

The story bounces around the life of the main character, Evie. Damaged perhaps irreparably by her mother’s abandonment and her feckless father’s inconsistent parenting, Evie has difficulty seeing herself as someone of worth, and – not surprisingly – has problems forming meaningful relationships with others. In the opening chapter, it’s the eve of her wedding, her commercial-fisherman fiancée’s boat has not yet returned to port, her peripatetic mother has popped in uninvited, and there is a large, dead, and increasingly smelly whale stranded at the harbor entry of the small California Channel island where she lives. It takes a rather long time to circle back around to the conclusion of this stressful episode, and the path wanders back and forth through Evie’s life (including the decades-later rough patch in her marriage, which sort of takes out the suspense of whether or not Liam is going to show up for the nuptials).

Evie is an engaging character, and her struggles to grow up despite an unconventional, often deprived, upbringing form the heart of the novel. Her love-hate relationship with the tiny island where she lives echoes her love-hate relationship with her parents, her early sex partners, and even her best friend whose ultimate betrayal seems for a while to be a gulf she cannot cross. The island itself and particularly the whales and other sea mammals she studies are beautifully described and are themselves additional characters in the tale.

But there really doesn’t seem to be any particular reason to depart from a straight chronological telling, which is annoying at least and confusing at worst. The real weakness, at last for this reviewer, was the constant thread of drug and alcohol abuse by all the characters. How often can one ask the reader to witness beer & bong parties, characters throwing up, skull-busting hangovers, and random sexual encounters, all laced liberally with F-bombs apparently inserted every paragraph or so to give verisimilitude to the dialogue.

“Creatures” is a slim book, so reading it doesn’t represent a great investment of time. But it’s so in love with itself, with the meta structure and metaphorical reach of an undeniably talented but somewhat undisciplined writer, that the whole thing just feels self-indulgent.

Four stars for the quality of the story; three for presentation. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | May 8, 2021 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I received this book as a part through Library Thing Early Reviewers. I have been very happy with this book. Overall, the language is presented in a way that gives the reader depth to the story. Creatures by Chrissy Van Meter was a book that could get me to feel emotion throughout the ups and downs in the story. Evie is a very lovable and relatable character, and I felt a personal attachment to her. While it didn’t get much in the way of the storytelling for me, I can see where a clearer timeline would help. The feel of this story rough back fond memories of the beach and I almost went back while I was reading this book. ( )
  briellewalmsley | May 4, 2021 |
Creatures by Crissy Van Meter, with its jumps in time, its at times incomplete thoughts, is more poetry than narrative. At first, I am not sure I can follow or if I even want to. Then, somewhere along the way, I am immersed in the experiences being described. The writing pulls you completely into its world. Yet, it does not feel forced or contrived. A beautiful and unusual debut. I look forward to reading more from the author.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2020/11/creatures.html

Reviewed for NetGalley and a publisher's blog tour. ( )
  njmom3 | Nov 3, 2020 |
One of the best reviewed books of early 2020, Crissy Van Meter's Creatures, is out in paperback this week. I missed it earlier this year, so I'm glad it came to my attention this week.

Creatures takes place on Winter Island, a feral island off the coast of Southern California. It is a hot spot with tourists during the summer, and the rest of the year it has small residential population. Evie is getting married tomorrow, and she is worried that the fishing boat her husband-to-be Liam is on hasn't returned to the island yet.

She also has to deal with a dead whale that has beached itself, leaving an overpowering smell. It bothers her mother, who surprisingly turned up for the wedding. Her mother was not really in Evie life, having spent most of her time on the mainland, leaving Evie as a young child to be raised by Evie's father.

Evie's father never had a real job, other than growing and selling pot. They were frequently homeless, bouncing from staying in someone's garage or boat until he could scrape up enough money to buy his own small boat. He loved Evie, but it wasn't an easy life for a young girl.

The story moves back and forth in time, like the tides that come in and out of the island. We see Evie's life as a young girl who has to grow up too soon, helping her dad sell his pot. She makes one friend, Rook, a girl from a wealthy family who often leave Rook on her own.

We see Evie and Liam's relationship through the years. They are both from dysfunctional families, and while that is part of what draws them together, it also creates problems as they don't know how to communicate with each other. Liam's frequent physical absences crash into Evie's emotional absences.

The writing is emotionally powerful, I frequently had to stop and reread sentences that I found so deeply moving, like this paragraph:
"Sometimes he wants to crack me open. I can tell by the desperation in his eyes during the days that are short and too-soon dark, and he wants me to just say it. Say anything. Say how hurt I am, how I'm not sure if I can move on, how I'm not sure I know how to love, if I'm sure of anything. He tries to bring it up: he tells me he loves me, he hides love notes all over the house, he does house chores, even some of mine. We have mastered this torture."
Evie works at the Sea Institute, studying sea creatures, especially whales. Her observations about whales echo the things going on in her own life. Winter Island is essentially another important character in the story.

Creatures touched me profoundly, especially Evie and Liam's evolving relationship. Even though I'm not from a background like Evie's, I felt a kinship with her, something I attribute to Crissy Van Meter's empathetic writing. I highly recommend it.

Thanks to Algonquin Books for putting me on Crissy Van Meter's tour. ( )
  bookchickdi | Oct 29, 2020 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I enjoyed this book, but it was not one I couldn't put down. It was confusing because it moved back and forth in time and you had to figure out at what point and age the character was in. It told of the love that can still exist in very dysfunctional families and relationships. There are some amusing stories and some heartbreaking ones. I think if the subject matter had been displayed in a more time oriented way it would have made the read more enjoyable. I did feel like I could get into the characters and understand some of the reasons for the ways they behaved and interacted with family members and others. ( )
  hazeleyeflgal | Jun 4, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 12) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
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Ensimmäiset sanat
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Viimeiset sanat
Erotteluhuomautus
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"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.

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