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y separately published work icon The Octopus and I single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2020... 2020 The Octopus and I
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Lucy and Jem live on the Tasman Peninsula near Eaglehawk Neck, where Lucy is recovering from major surgery. As she tries to navigate her new body through the world, she develops a deep fascination with the local octopuses, and in doing so finds herself drawn towards the friendship of an old woman and her son. As the story unfolds, the octopuses come to shape Lucy's body and her sense of self in ways even she can't quite understand.

'The Octopus and I is a stunning debut novel that explores the wild, beating heart at the intersection of human and animal, love and loss, fear and hope.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2020 .
      image of person or book cover 1123451657520723764.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 360p.
      Note/s:
      • Published April 2020.
      ISBN: 9781760875640

Other Formats

  • Braille.
  • Dyslexic edition.
  • Large print.

Works about this Work

Animal Perspective : Breaking the Language Barrier Laura McKay (presenter), Erin Hortle (presenter), Chris Flynn (presenter), 2021 single work interview
— Appears in: Griffith Review , January no. 71 2021;
What I’m Reading Donna Mazza , 2020 single work
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2020;
Our Octopuses, Ourselves Georgia White , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , September 2020;

'There are many qualities to the octopus that render it strange, or weird, to a human mind: its cold, slippery body. Its excess of creepy tentacles. Its dissonant, almost chimerical structure. Its aloof intelligence. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, science fiction and horror writers fixed upon the figure of the octopus as the ultimate expression of eldritch dread. Cthulhu sprouted from the hallucinatory imagination of HP Lovecraft, and attacks by giant cephalopods became a staple of the maritime adventure novel. In an essay on the teratology of Weird horror, novelist and literary critic China Mièville links the historical emergence of the genre, around about the fin-de-siècle, to a growing sense of nihilism in the face of an oncoming crisis. To the writers of the Weird, writes Mièville, this formless being with an inexplicable surfeit of limbs was a reflection of the  ‘chaotic, amoral, [and] anthropoperipheral universe’ they found themselves in.' (Introduction)

Quarantine Q&A : Erin Hortle 2020 2020 single work interview
— Appears in: Feminist Writers Festival 2016-;
Tough Decisions Amid the Tentacles of Friction Rohan Wilson , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 20 June 2020; (p. 14)

— Review of The Octopus and I Erin Hortle , 2020 single work novel
Erin Hortle : The Octopus and I Fiona Wright , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 18-24 April 2020;

— Review of The Octopus and I Erin Hortle , 2020 single work novel

'The Octopus and I opens with a short chapter in the voice of an octopus, heavily pregnant, attempting to cross the isthmus at Eaglehawk Neck, near Port Arthur. “My body is brimming is pulsing is purring is ready,” the octopus narrates, “… the moonlight envelops me caressing my arms as they caress the kelpy floor the kelpy shore.” This is a gesture that sets up the book’s thematic and stylistic concerns: the novel is largely about the interconnections between the animal and human worlds, and the ethical problems that our relationships with different kinds of life forms often elide. Animals – the octopus, a mutton bird, a pair of seals – are important characters here, and while Erin Hortle’s attempts to enter their subjectivity aren’t always this successful, they provide a continual counterbalance to the dramas played out in the human characters’ lives. The book is very much a work of ecological fiction, a genre that is becoming increasingly common in Australian literature, and in which octopuses – because of their intelligence and strangeness – frequently occur.'  (Introduction)

Tough Decisions Amid the Tentacles of Friction Rohan Wilson , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 20 June 2020; (p. 14)

— Review of The Octopus and I Erin Hortle , 2020 single work novel
Quarantine Q&A : Erin Hortle 2020 2020 single work interview
— Appears in: Feminist Writers Festival 2016-;
Our Octopuses, Ourselves Georgia White , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , September 2020;

'There are many qualities to the octopus that render it strange, or weird, to a human mind: its cold, slippery body. Its excess of creepy tentacles. Its dissonant, almost chimerical structure. Its aloof intelligence. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, science fiction and horror writers fixed upon the figure of the octopus as the ultimate expression of eldritch dread. Cthulhu sprouted from the hallucinatory imagination of HP Lovecraft, and attacks by giant cephalopods became a staple of the maritime adventure novel. In an essay on the teratology of Weird horror, novelist and literary critic China Mièville links the historical emergence of the genre, around about the fin-de-siècle, to a growing sense of nihilism in the face of an oncoming crisis. To the writers of the Weird, writes Mièville, this formless being with an inexplicable surfeit of limbs was a reflection of the  ‘chaotic, amoral, [and] anthropoperipheral universe’ they found themselves in.' (Introduction)

Animal Perspective : Breaking the Language Barrier Laura McKay (presenter), Erin Hortle (presenter), Chris Flynn (presenter), 2021 single work interview
— Appears in: Griffith Review , January no. 71 2021;
What I’m Reading Donna Mazza , 2020 single work
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2020;
Last amended 6 Apr 2021 11:20:04
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  • Tasman Peninsula, Forestier Peninsula - Tasman Peninsula area, Southeast Tasmania, Tasmania,
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