A reissue of Ingalls feted and then forgotten 1982 surrealist novella about a lonely, grieving California housewife's passionate affair with a 6' 7" humanoid sea creature who has escaped from a government lab.
...[a] slim surrealist masterpiece ... There are many familiar things on which it draws (B-grade monster movies, suburban malaise, romance tropes), and it has been justly compared to cultural touchstones from David Lynch and Richard Yates to The Wizard of Oz and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but there is nothing else out there that is 'like' it, or even close.
...a remarkable little novel ... Almost all of Ingalls’s stories evoke an atmosphere of breathless expectancy: something wonderful or horrid seems always about to happen. This tone of suspense often has a menacing quality, paying off at the last minute in appalling reversals of fortune and explosions of spectacular violence ... It is a tribute to the subtlety of the novel that it can lend itself to multiple readings ... Perhaps Ingalls’s finest accomplishment in the novel is the unflappable gentleness of her tone, which records supernatural surprise and flaming horror simply, almost tranquilly. The result is paradoxically quotidian and dreamlike, like a fable or folktale ... One can only hope that this new edition, and the possible film adaptation, will bring to this austere, elegant work — and to Ingalls’s fiction more generally — the sustained attention it so richly deserves.
Every one of its 128 pages is perfect, original, and arresting. Clear a Saturday, please, and read it in a single sitting ... Ingalls’s narrative is a miracle of economy and grace. (Most of her books are novellas, which might explain her obscurity.) She writes straightforwardly, without winking, dropping only occasional hints that Dorothy’s tether on reality might be frayed ... Larry’s connection to Caliban is clear enough—he is a frightening other to be feared, enslaved, and, when that fails, exterminated. As a romance, the book is tender; as a portrait of depression, exquisite and tragic. Dorothy can’t swim against the tides of grief and melancholia. Does Larry really exist? 'This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine' is not a statement that Mrs. Caliban ever utters.