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.
Thank you to Algonquin Books for having me in this book tour for Creatures by Crissy Van Meter.
Set in a beautiful island off the coast of Southern California in a lush wild lands of Winter Island is the heart breaking story of Evie. In a series of unfortunate events occur in the eve of Evie's wedding with a dead whale trapped in the harbor, her fiancee late from returning from his trip out at sea, and her estranged mother shows up to complicate matters.
As all these issues are crashing down at Evie, she looks back at her dysfunctional up bringing from parents who were both neglectful - a mother who leaves Evie as a young child only to be left to an alcoholic father who peddles marijuana to tourists in the island.
The writing of this story is both poetic and lyrical - certainly a character driven story told in a very unique perspective. There are a lot of symbolisms and found the writing beautiful, very deep, sometimes dark but very much real and will touch your heart. I felt for Evie - my heart broke for her and her childhood. Every one who reads this will find something to relate to in this moving story.
I had an incredible time reading this fabulous story and glad to read a book set in Southern California.
Crissy Van Meter is a writer based in Los Angeles.
She teaches creative writing at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the founder of the literary project Five Quarterly, and the managing editor for Nouvella Books. She serves on the board of directors for the literary non-profit Novelly.
Her debut novel Creatures is out now from Algonquin Books.