cover image Invisible Beasts

Invisible Beasts

Sharona Muir. Bellevue Literary (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-934137-80-2

Lines blur between the human and animal worlds in this richly detailed debut from Muir (The Book of Telling), which is part fantasy novel, part field guide. Imbued with a rare power to detect animals invisible to all humans except for a few of her family members, amateur naturalist Sophie takes the reader on a tour of nature as she sees it. Arranged like a bird-watching book, but with creatures that even the sharpest of naturalists couldn’t identify, the book is filled with minute details about each species’ origin and habits, along with keen insights on what the beasts have taught her about human nature. Some of the animals depicted, and their interactions with the human world, are humorous (particularly the Wild Rubber Jack, which, as Sophie bluntly states, is “an invisible American ass”); others provide insight into Sophie’s character (she faces an existential dilemma over whether or not to reveal the Feral Parfumier Bee’s existence to her biologist sister). In Sophie’s struggles to find her footing in a world only she and a few others can see, Muir expertly pinpoints the frailty of the human condition. This is an amazing feat of imagination. (July)