After the death of her husband, Tova Sullivan began working as a night cleaner at the local aquarium. The job helps her feel useful, especially in her loneliness after his death and her ongoing grief since her 18-year-old son disappeared 30 years ago. When she discovers that Marcellus, the giant Pacific octopus, has been escaping on nightly adventures, the two develop an unlikely camaraderie. When a young man shows up in town, Marcellus realizes he knows something about him, and Tova's past.
This bestselling novel from 2022 is absolutely delightful. Full of grief and hard things, yes, but Marcellus' voice is distinctive (and you MUST listen to the audio--the voice actor for him is so wonderful!). His observations about humans will have you chuckling, and his relationship with Tova will warm your heart. My only complaint is that we didn't get MORE Marcellus (his chapters are criminally short).
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After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors–until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.
Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.