This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

May-June 2018

REVIEW: Jen Neale’s debut novel redefines life, death, love, and grief

Inside Land Mammals and Sea Creatures

Whitney Rothwell

Land_Mammals_and_Sea_Creatures_RGB_1024x1024Land Mammals and Sea Creatures
By Jen Neale
ECW Press, $18.95

Despite the title of Jen Neale’s debut magic realist novel, it’s the Birds who dominate this story. Julie Bird returns to her coastal B.C. hometown to prevent her father, Marty—struggling with PTSD—from his long-desired self-destruction. When a stranger from Marty’s past arrives the day a blue whale beaches on the local shore, followed by a series of bizarre animal suicides, the town explodes in passion, turmoil, and the stench of decaying whale carcass. Insightful, gripping, and mysterious to the end, Land Mammals and Sea Creatures blows the reader to pieces, redefining life, death, love, and grief.

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