Happy Book Birthday to Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Emmie Ruth Lang! I was lucky to receive this book early as part of my Book of the Month club subscription. I’ll be honest, I was completely torn about choosing this novel. While I loved the sound of the synopsis (listed below), I knew that I hated magical realism. I was 75% sure I was going to hate it, so imagine my surprise when I found myself loving it more with each page turn.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
Published by St. Martin's Press on November 14th 2017
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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.
a tender love story, the wonder of nature, and the charm of animals
Why I loved Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance:
1. The book takes place in different parts of the United States. Strange, small towns that most of us haven’t heard of in states like Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, etc. In each setting, the nature surrounding the people is meticulously described so that now when I think of the book, I think of the thick silence of the forest, the coldness of snow, the hissing of waves. It was beautiful.
2. The magical realism is this in so well done it felt seamless and plausible in the world of the book. Every time something magical happened, it did not feel like a speed bump in the book, causing you to feel confused and disoriented. Instead, it felt organic and like a completely reasonable thing to be happening.
3. Weylyn Grey is one of my favorite characters of all time. Mysterious, kind-hearted, well-meaning, and socially oblivious. I loved his interactions with other people. They will make you laugh at times and ache for him at others.
4. The book has so much depth, yet manages to be relatively short. Chapters are not many pages long, and you flip between perspectives so frequently that the book never drags. I am impressed that Lang managed to convey so much meaning with such efficient elegance.
5. The love story. It was absolutely perfect for me.
I adored this story and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a book filled with wonder, whimsy, and love.