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Lily and the Octopus Hardcover – June 7, 2016
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From Publishers Weekly
Screenwriter Rowley’s sensitive, hilarious, and emotionally rewarding debut novel explores the effect that pets can have on human lives. Teddy is unhappily single in L.A. In between sessions with his therapist and dates with men he meets online, it is his beloved 12-year-old dachshund, Lily, who occupies his heart. Curiously, Teddy is able to communicate with Lily, with whom he debates the attractiveness of male celebrities and plays board games. Distressingly, he is also able to communicate with the “octopus” attached to the little dog’s head, which is soon revealed to be a metaphor for Lily’s lethal cranial tumor. Complicating matters is the increasing prevalence of Lily’s seizures and the looming inevitability of her demise. The intimacy of pet ownership is sweetly suffused throughout this heartwarming autobiographical fiction, originally written as self-therapy for the author’s own grief. In generous helpings of bittersweet humanity, Rowley has written an immensely poignant and touchingly relatable tale that readers (particularly animal lovers) will love. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (June)\n
“Lily and the Octopus is the dog book you must read this summer…. Reading this heart-wrenching but ultimately breathtaking novel was a very profound experience…. As Lily might say, ‘YOU! MUST! READ! THIS! BOOK!’”
—The Washington Post
“Startlingly imaginative...‘Lily and the Octopus’ is a love story sure to assert its place in the canine lit pack...Be prepared for outright laughs and searing or silly moments of canine and human recognition. And grab a tissue: THERE! WILL! BE! EYE! RAIN!”
“Sensitive, hilarious, and emotionally rewarding.... The intimacy of pet ownership is sweetly suffused throughout this heartwarming autobiographical fiction... In generous helpings of bittersweet humanity, Rowley has written an immensely poignant and touchingly relatable tale that readers (particularly animal lovers) will love.”
“Steven Rowley’s touching, fresh, energetic novel isn’t simply another ‘boy and his dog’ story. It is a profound exploration of grief—how we find ourselves lost, how we search for reason, how we sacrifice ourselves for our loved ones, all to avoid paying the octopus. But the octopus will be paid. And in settling that debt, in the magical, hopeful world of Lily and the Octopus, we will learn to live—and love—again. A wonderfully moving story.”
—Garth Stein, bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
“An exceedingly authentic, keenly insightful, and heartbreakingly poignant tribute to the purity of love between a pet and its human.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“A quirky and deeply affecting charmer of a novel, Lily and the Octopus is funny, wise, and utterly original in its exploration of what it means to love any mortal creature. This brave little dachshund will capture your heart, as will her prickly, tenderhearted, and irresistible owner. Don't miss their adventures together.”
—Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants
“Singular, spectacular, and touchingly tentacular.”
—Chris Cleave, bestselling author of Little Bee
“You will tear through this big-hearted, inventive novel. A fast and funny read that also happens to be a profound meditation on love and forgiveness, Lily and the Octopus is a delight.”
—Christina Baker Kline, bestselling author of Orphan Train
“Intelligently written, finely observed, and surprisingly moving, this is a book you’ll find hard to put down.”
—Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project
“A whimsical, touching tale”
“My favorite book of the year: Steven Rowley's Lily and the Octopus. Hilarious, heartbreaking. You will absolutely cry and you will love it."
—Patrick Ness, bestselling author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here
“You don’t need to be a dog lover to enjoy Steven Rowley’s new book, ‘Lily and the Octopus,’ but if you’ve realized you like your dog more than most humans you encounter, this is one you won’t want to miss.”
—Newport Beach Independent
“In his funny, ardent and staunchly kooky way, Rowley expresses exactly what it's like to love a dog.”
“Rowley shares a moving, profound tale of grappling with loss.”
“It is a joyful book; it is also a sincerely written tragedy that invoked the purity of friendship between animal/human family members. It's laughter through tears. Rowley has a sense of humor with just enough morbid sensibility to appeal to a wide audience (even if animal best friend books aren't one's thing). Yet, he navigates the five stages of grief and loss while inspiring others to appreciate the lives we already have.”
“Portland’s Steven Rowley strikes a chord in a moving book about heartache and friendship that is expected to be a big seller this summer.”
—Portland Press Herald
“The connection between man and dog is loud and clear in this sweet novel…”
—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Author Steven Rowley uses humor and pop-culture references to tell a whimsical story of courage in the face of heartbreaking reality. Philosophical and introspective, “Lily and the Octopus” also looks at the transformative power of love, the importance of forgiveness and the beauty of really living, letting ourselves be seen instead of hiding in plain sight…I laughed, I sobbed, and at the end, I felt as if I’d caught up with a friend over coffee.”
—The Free Lance-Star
Top customer reviews
You do not need to be a dog lover to appreciate this book. You just have to be, you know, not an insensitive a-hole. And even if you are, this might be your weakness (just don't read it in public).
I highly recommend this to everyone. It will knock your socks off.
Ted's best friend and companion is Lily, a 12 year old Dachshund. They share an amazing bond and I was so captivated by their relationship. In this sometimes fantastical tale, she speaks to Ted and I loved getting to hear her voice. We learn that there is something very wrong with Lily and Ted is forced to confront the possibility of life without his treasured dog.
This book is so beautifully written. It is funny and thoughtful and heartbreaking. I cried real tears. I found myself rereading entire chapters after I was done, just so I could go back and relive this wonderful story. I highly recommend this book. It's a definite must read!
This book made me feel, just feel, so deeply. . .I am incredibly grateful to the author for the way this story is told. He is both poetic and humane, yet also magnificently creative in his sharing of emotions and experiences that so many of us share. Lily was entertaining and real, just as real as the loneliness that affects his protagonist so deeply.
I recommend the reading of this novel for so many reasons, not the least of which include the beautifully developed themes of tolerance, overcoming fears and the importance of human connections, and will most certainly be reading this book again!
Thank you, Steven Rowley for this wonderful read!
I checked the box that said, "Some sexual content," but this content is so mild as to render it nearly non-existent; yet the novel explores the character's needs, both emotional and sexual, so I cannot say that the book has "no sexual content." Regardless, these needs are described meaningfully and tastefully, so it is unlikely that the reader would be offended.
I would recommend this book as appropriate for serious-minded older teens up through college and beyond. The content would be too strange and confusing for anyone younger than that. As a college-educated, middle-aged person, I found that while I understood the general meaning of the book through my first read, it will take a re-read to understand the multiple levels that I grasp only fleetingly now.
This beautiful story is about Ted and Lily’s six month battle with the octopus. It’s also about life and love, about the bond that some of us form with our pets, about dealing with saying goodbye. It’s funny, heart wrenching and sad. Lily talks to Ted, and so does the octopus. Ted would do anything he could to defeat the octopus. Anything.
‘Lily you were, quite simply, the greatest to me.’
Reading this story, my thoughts were never very far away from my own special dog, the late great Sir Bruce the Battle Rat. If you are a pet lover, I think you’ll relate to this story. You may need tissues, I certainly did.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster (Australia) for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
Most recent customer reviews
I just wasn't "sold" by this story. Cute cover and a quick read (I read it all in one day), but I just wasn't "pulled in" --...Read more