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Rachel Ingalls

  • Original Title: MRS. CALIBAN
  • Publication date: January 1982
  • Country: US
  • 128 print pages
  • Fantastic/Classic


  • Epoch: Historical
  • Time Period: 20th century
  • Location setting: United States
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Rivalry, LOVE / HATE, Amorous urge, CHARACTERS, Atypical Character


The story of a lonely woman who falls for an amphibious sea monster named Larry she meets over short wave radio - a precursor in some ways to social media.


Translation rights sold: UK, Italy

First published in 1982. The plot concerns a lonely housewife who finds companionship with an amphibious sea monster named Larry. The book was reissued in 2017.

While there are noted parallels with the recent Guillermo Del Toro film, ‘The Shaper of Water’, this is less nostalgic and more feminist. It’s also, if you can believe it, weirder.

"The love story is a delight, the social commentary sharp, the writing funny and fun—and yet the sorrow, even bitterness, at the core of this book about our perfidious species is inescapable and profound. Where is the movie?" - Kirkus

The novella saw little critical nor commercial success upon release until 1986, when it was named by the British Book Marketing Council as one of the top 20 American novels of the post-World War II period.

Rachel Holmes Ingalls (1940 – 2019) was an American-born author who had lived in the United Kingdom from 1965 onwards.


"She looked over to where he was, seated at the other end of the kitchen table in the light which, since his arrival, she had blocked by curtains because of his sensitive eyes. He concentrated on polishing spoons with a silver cloth: six teaspoons from a great-aunt. One leg was slung over the other, which would have looked strange enough, but he was also wearing a flowered apron fastened around his waist, and it contrasted stunningly with his large, muscular green body, his nobly massive head."

A lonely woman romances a large aquatic creature who’s fleeing her town’s sadistic scientists. A collision of fairy tale, pulp, and the dredgings of the unconscious. The woman meets the amphibious sea monster, named Larry, over short wave radio - a precursor in some ways to social media.

Kirkus review

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