Nominated by:

Hartford Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Bellevue Literary Press, USA

Invisible Beasts

Sharona Muir    

2016 Longlist

Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge.

In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature. The fantastic creations within its pages—an ancient animal that uses natural cold fusion for energy, a species of vampire bat that can hear when their human host is lying, a continent-sized sponge living under the ice of Antarctica—illuminate the role that all living creatures play in the environment and remind us of what we stand to lose if we fail to recognize our entwined destinies.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Sharona Muir is the author of The Book of Telling: Tracing the Secrets of My Father’s Lives, a collection of poetry, a collection of literary criticism, and the novel Invisible Beasts. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Orion magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Paris Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University; two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships; the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Fellowship, and other awards. She is currently Professor of Creative Writing and English at Bowling Green State University.

Librarian’s Comments

Invisible beasts are seen by Sophie and she has decided to write about them. “Broadly put, the beasts you’ll meet here are those who teach a memorable lesson in the meaning of their particular company to the human animal.” Muir astounded this reader. Liltingly physical, metaphorically sound, elusively knowing, her language is paint and clay and vibration.

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