Monday, August 21, 2023

Eight top books about intelligent sea creatures

James Sturz grew up in New York City, snorkeling in his bathtub and pretending the living room shag carpet was finger coral. Now based in Hawaii, he has covered the underwater world for The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, Outside, and Men’s Journal, among many publications. His fiction and journalism have been published in 18 countries and translated into nine languages. He graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University and is a PADI Divemaster, free diver, and Explorers Club Fellow. His first novel, Sasso, was set in the caves of Basilicata, Italy, very far from the water.

Sturz's new novel is Underjungle.

At Lit Hub he tagged eight books that "feature intelligent sea creatures who become part of our world, or else we enter theirs." One title on the list:
Claire Fuller, The Memory of Animals

This heart-thumper is a tale of isolation, loss, connectedness, memory-reproducing technology, and a whole lotta apocalypse. So why shouldn’t there also be an octopus in it? Surely, they’re the kings of connection, with all those arms and suckers. The novel is set mostly in confined spaces in England and open ones in Greece, against a backdrop of something a hundred times worse than Covid, which has wrought devastation on the planet—think Emma Donoghue’s Room, flushed with childhood recollections of life at the sea. Fuller’s novel drips with ache and desperation, but you’ll never feel either more than when its 27-year-old marine biologist narrator, Neffy, embraces an octopus and weeps.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue