There is a monster in every one of these stories. Some are imaginary: like the Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster. Some are real: like snakes, global warming, and divorce. A beautiful and exciting debut from a young writer who is one to watch. --Recommended by Suzanne, City Lights Books
"Laura van den Berg finds the tension between science and magic and walks it like a tightrope. . . . It is a fantastic and fascinating world, full of discoveries and moments of wonder, a book meant for the explorer in all of us."—Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief
Containing work reprinted in Best Non-Required Reading 2008, Best New American Voices 2010, and The Pushcart Prizes 2010, the stories in Laura van den Berg's rich and inventive debut illuminate the intersection of the mythic and the mundane.
A failed actress takes a job as a Bigfoot inpersonator. A bontanist seeking a rare flower crosses path with a group of men hunting the Loch Ness Monster. A disillusioned missionary in Africa grapples with grief and a growing obsession with a creature rumored to live in the forest of the Congo. And in the title story, a young woman traveling with her scientist mother in Madagascar confronts her burgeoning sexuality and her dream of becoming a long-distance swimmer.
Rendered with precision and longing, the women who narrate these starkly beautiful stories are consumed with searching -- for absolution, for solace, for the flash of extraordinary in the ordinary that will forever alter their lives.