BOOK TITLE: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
BOOK AUTHOR: Ruth Emmie Lang
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press
November 14th 2017
GENRES: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism
CHECK IT OUT AT: Goodreads
BUY IT: Buy on Amazon
"Exquisite and adventurous" -- Bustle, "11 New Fiction Books You Need"
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.
That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.
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. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and 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.
In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
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Remember those books from childhood that just made you smile with possibility and satisfaction?
It seems like adulthood doesn’t hold enough of that kind of hopefulness. We get bogged down in responsibility and commitments, forgetting about the magic in everyday.
And then a book like Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance comes along, making the impossible seem more plausible.
You can’t classify Beasts as anything but magical realism, but it’s so much more. Somehow Lang skips over the smarmy aspects of a boy raised by wolves and makes Weylyn Grey likable, believable, and fun.
The beauty of Beasts is its narration. If you know me, you know I LOVE an unreliable narrator. But, in a unlikely story such as Beasts, readers need to hear the story from reliable sources. Hearing about Weylyn’s life through the eyes and minds of those that met, knew, and loved him through the years helps ground the magical tale. All the narrators are reliable and skeptical, but all fall under Weylyn’s enchantment long before they come to believe in his supernatural abilities.
Weylyn himself is such a lovely, lonely, believable character, making his otherworldly qualities seem like just another quirk. His understanding of people is the best of his abilities, somehow finding those that are also lonely and alone.
Beasts is a wonderful read. It’s one of those books that will make you think highly of humans AND wolves, making you hope that a man like Weylyn really does exist and will cross your path. It’s not a deep, difficult read, but it will bring on the ‘feels.’
One of the blurbs from another author called Beasts “Charlotte’s Web for adults,” and I have to agree. The fact that Weylyn has mystical powers is a large part of the book, but it’s not the whole part. The humanity of Weylyn and of those telling his story is the heart and soul of Beasts, and a beautiful soul it is.
I loved Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. It’s the kind of read that’s tonic for your soul.
(And I love that Ruth Emmie Lang lives in VERY nearby Columbus, Ohio. Let’s give a big shout out to local authors!!!)
Oh, and while I’m talking about this beautiful story – I got a BEAUTIFUL copy of Beasts as one of my choices for October from Book of the Month. If you’re wondering what to get your favorite book nerd, Book of the Month is an AWESOME gift, plus they’re running unbelievable deals for Black Friday AND Cyber Monday!!! Check them out!!!