Magical Realism

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

This was just one of those books that I knew I wanted to read from the second I saw it. The title and cover drew me in, but the description sealed the deal. I am a huge sucker for magical realism and this story sounded literally perfect. Having just finished, I can confirm that I still love magical realism. And that this an absolutely wonderful book to have procrastinated reading until the Fall. Cozy vibes were everywhere and I loved it!

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances by Ruth Emmie Lang


So, a quick synopsis. When Weylyn was born, a freak snowstorm hit the area…in the middle of June. And things only got stranger from there: raised for a time by wolves, owner of a very special pet pig named Merlin, and potentially in possession of some fantastical weather-related magical powers. Weylyn lives a very different path through life than the average person – a path that brings both immense joy and definite heartbreak. But even though he experiences life in a unique way, there is also no denying the very real connections he forges with others and the heartwarming stories he somehow can’t help but be involved in.

The story is told in multiple sections, jumping through the years as Weylyn grows. It starts when he is a child and first meets the girl who will become the love of his life, Mary. And it continues through his adoption away from his wolf family and into a real (read: human) family, his time spent wandering, his first years with Mary as an adult, and more. Each section has a couple different narrators. Some we only hear from once and are people that have only a glancing interaction with Weylyn, while others repeat and are people who are more consistent presences in his life. But most of all, we get to see that, no matter how they interact with him or what type of interaction it is, Weylyn has a special gift that touches each of their lives and brings a little something special, wonderful, uplifting to it. Even, and especially, when he doesn’t know he’s doing it. It was a fascinating and really very sweet way to read about the main character – watching your picture of him grow as you hear how everyone else sees and interacts with him. I really enjoyed the reading experience of learning about Weylyn’s isms through the voices, experiences, and intuitions of others. And I love that, at the very end, we finally had a chance (albeit short) to see through his own eyes.

From the very first page, the story itself was full of the perfect sort of magical realism. Just a hint (or maybe a little more) of magic in otherwise “normal” lives/realities. And in this particular case, I loved the way it was so closely intertwined with nature – Weylyn’s special bond with flora and fauna and the way that carried over to Mary and the other people in his life. And just personally, I find nature-based magic to be particularly enchanting. In addition, I know I mentioned this earlier, but I seriously cannot remember the last time I read a book that was this heartwarming. Everything about it reads like the most charming fairy-tale folklore. Weylyn himself is almost an impossibly endearing character, so it follows that all the interactions he has are equally delightful. His childlike glee stays with him throughout his life and, even during the parts that are more serious, or in which he shows more adult-like (read: melancholier) emotions, there is still that little bubble of naivete that gives you hope for a happy ending. And though I am normally not one for spoilers, this book does have the most perfect little ending. Exactly right for the atmosphere and magic of the rest of the story.

If you are looking for something fun, light, adorable and, I’ll say it again, heartwarming, I highly recommend this book. I teared up about 6 times reading the last 50 pages, all in the best ways, and, when I turned the last page, I was left feeling so full of warmth and contentment. This is one of those books that, after you’re done, you look at the world with news eyes and everything holds just a little more promise than it did before.

There were some really lovely musings on magic, real and otherwise, in this book. And those moments were really special for me, as a reader who wishes magic were real. Enjoy these few and go read the book for more.

“‘Why do you do that?’ ‘Do what?’ “Take something beautiful and vandalize it with skepticism?’” – THIS is something I think a lot of us should take to heart.

“In that moment, I could feel the sand between my toes, water on my skin. I saw the sun melt into the water until everything was starry and purple.”

“I wasn’t doing magic, but I was in it, surrounded on all sides by incredible, beautiful things. It made me feel like a wizard even though I wasn’t one, even though I could never be one.” – THAT spoke to my soul.

“I’ve been called magic, but I wouldn’t use that term exactly. I like to think of myself as always being in the right place at the right time, or the wrong place at the wrong time. Very rarely am I simply in an acceptable place at a generally convenient time. That said, I find those rare occasions very pleasant…”

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