In this recent reissue of Ingalls' delightfully bizarre novella, we're introduced to the usual trope of bored housewife stuck in a loveless marriage during 50's suburban ennui. But before your eyes glaze over, in walks Larry - an amphibious frogman who has escaped from cruel captors at a research center, bringing in an element of B-horror creature feature love story that would have made Ed Wood go wild.— From Sarah c.
Rachel Ingalls's 1983 novel Mrs. Caliban is an absolute gem that deserves to be read and reread. The story follows Dorothy, a woman whose suburban life and stagnating marriage are defined by boredom and touched by tragedy, who enters into an affair with an amphibious, humanoid sea creature recently escaped from a shady government institute. (The sadistic researchers call him Aquarius the Monsterman, but Dorothy renames him Larry.) What ensues is a cutting referendum on the sexist milieu of American life, couched in a unique blend of science fiction and suburban drama. Don't let the book's slim profile and unassuming prose style fool you; it's weirder, wiser, funnier and more crushingly sad than it first lets on. It's a quick read that will linger in your thoughts long after you put it down— From Theo
“This book, which New Directions has unearthed from the 1980s, is such a surprising, delightful gem. It's like a mix of Lucia Berlin's knack for character, dialogue, and tone with the sci-fi realism that's become so popular lately. A strange, beautiful book by a writer who's getting her rightful recognition (and who may have predicted the current avocado craze?!).”
— Jacob Rogers, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC