“We built a bonfire outside, emptied everything from the refrigerator into a castiron pot— beef, potatoes, onion, black beans, tomatoes, garlic, rice—and let it stew over the open flame. We crouched over our stew like Vikings, hair falling into our bowls, scooping it up with chunks of bread and slurping the rest.”
This book gets one of my rare fives. It is well written and immersive.
The story is about Weylyn Grey, his life and those around him. Some would say his life was magical, I think Weylyn would disagree.
His tale is told through the commentary of others who are part of his life and occasionally of Weylyn himself.
He first appears as someone to whom a young girl named Mary is tasked to make a delivery, by her father. Mary makes further deliveries after this initial one, then when Weylyn’s money runs out and he is forced to move on, she runs away with him.
Mary eventually gets reunited with her father and Weylyn is fostered by a Reverend and his family.
Sadly Weylyn is destined to move on from his new home and from many of his future relationships. He spends his life leaving people behind, in his own mind, to protect them.
This book was very involving, instead of a straightforward telling of Weylyn’s life from one viewpoint, it is told from the eyes (and voices) of many. This keeps it fresh and engaging. There were many points in the story that grabbed my attention.
My favourite bit was when Weylyn and another had a meal and “crouched over our stew like Vikings, hair falling into our bowls, scooping it up with chunks of bread and slurping the rest.”
I don’t really want to spoil the book for anyone, so I’m deliberately being vague – part of the enjoyment is the discovering for yourself. What I will say though is that this book was so well described throughout and extremely enjoyable. I really recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of fantastic, natural, magical storytelling.
I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.
5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)
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Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us how to find magic in the ordinary in her magical realism debut Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance.
Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.
As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places, jeopardizing not only his own life, but the life of Mary, the woman he loves.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell: great storms that evaporate into thin air; fireflies that make phosphorescent honey; a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.
There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.
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