Published by ECW Press in Spring 2018.
A startling, moving magic realist debut
Almost immediately upon Julie Bird’s return to the small port town
where she was raised, everyday life is turned upside down. Julie’s
Gulf War vet father, Marty, has been on the losing side of a battle
with PTSD for too long. A day of boating takes a dramatic turn
when a majestic blue whale beaches itself and dies. A blond stranger
sets up camp oceanside: she’s an agitator, musician-impersonator,
and armchair philosopher named Jennie Lee Lewis — and Julie
discovers she’s connected to her father’s mysterious trip to New
Mexico 25 years earlier. As the blue whale decays on the beach, more
wildlife turns up dead — apparently by suicide — echoing Marty’s
deepest desire. But Julie isn’t ready for a world without her father.
A stunning exploration of love and grief, Land Mammals and Sea
Creatures is magic realism on the seaside, a novel about living life to
the fullest and coming to your own terms with its end.
Pre-order it now.
Press for Land Mammals and Sea Creatures
‘With light touches of magical realism and vivid descriptions of the Canadian seaside, Neale’s haunting tale reminds us that our lives are bound to others’ in both restricting and deeply comforting ways . . . A wholly original and stunning debut.’ —Booklist
‘A mysterious and unsettling debut touching on grief, mourning, environmental calamity, and the healing potential of friendship.’ —Kirkus
‘Land Mammals and Sea Creatures’s magical realism is dark and apocryphal. On this journey through the valley of the shadow of death, the only clear signal is distress. As Julie, Marty, and the mysterious stranger traverse illuminating fictions and inexplicable animal suicides, Neale never lets you forget that humans are animals too.’ —Foreward Reviews
‘Masterfully crafted and written in compelling, highly readable prose, Land Mammals and Sea Creatures explores trauma, memory, love, and what it means to be human. It will surprise you at every turn.’ —Johanna Skibsrud, Giller Prize–winning author of The Sentimentalists
‘Move over, Linnaeus! Your domains and your kingdoms have been overthrown. Land Mammals and Sea Creatures is in the reclassification business and the results are profound and beautiful. This is a novel of great loss, but even greater love. Jen Neale — there’s no denying it — is one of this country’s wisest, and most shockingly original, young writers.’ —Alexander MacLeod, Giller Prize–shortlisted author of Light Lifting.