Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances: A Novel by Ruth Emmie Lang


“Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Take something beautiful and vandalize it with skepticism?”

I love magical realism, and as much as I hate comparing authors, this novel had a similar feel to Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace. I absolutely adore the beginning with Roarke’s story. The ‘Old Spider Man’, it just tickled my fancy to no end, it’s fantastical and exactly the sort of magical spice I love. The novel is about the lives of all the people crossing paths with Weylyn Grey, a boy and later a man both of this world and not. Strange things happen around him, strange curious things, but the biggest curiosity is him.  Are his gifts a blessing or a curse? He is dangerous, but could the love of Mary save him? Can love save any of us? Aren’t we all dangerous in our nature, all of us slipping in some mess, hurting others unintentionally, a beacon for some, a misery for others? Isn’t love, friendship, all of it a complete mystery and adventure?

He is a fleeting beauty to some, a rip in the safe universe for others, but no one remains untouched after being in his presence. Inside the heart of a the wild boy raised by wolves, there is tragedy, disasters that have left him the biggest victim of all. It’s a strange and wonderful journey, there is an intelligence in the ‘fantasy’ that touched me. He is, like many of us, afraid of himself, in his own way because of his extraordinary gifts that aren’t always leading to rainbows and happy endings. Everything costs him, even helping others, much as it does the rest of us.  Misery and happiness are conjoined twins for anyone alive and kicking.

Of course we are all of nature, though we forget with our creature comforts, but Weylyn is connected in a mysterious way even he can’t understand. He isn’t the only character, the people he touches or scratches with his wildness are beautifully written even in their rottenness. Lydia Kramer’s story broke my heart, the sixth daughter of a beautiful brood of girls, the least remarkable one according to her vain mother, but she has such fire and bite. This is a captivating novel, I miss these sort of stories terribly because to me, the most mysterious thing of all is human nature and the environment the surrounds us. Does Lang spin a fantastical web, sure- but there is so much painful reality within to keep you anchored. What an achingly lovely novel. I cannot wait to read her next novel! I have a new favorite author! This won’t be out until November, hence I didn’t divulge much, I really don’t want to ruin the novel. I didn’t share all the things I highlighted, wish I could!

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

St. Martin’s Press



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