The Octopus and I

The Octopus and I

4.08 (857 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 21-26 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


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.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 153 x 234mm | 451g
  • Sydney, Australia
  • English
  • 1760875643
  • 9781760875640
  • 34,784

Review quote

'The Octopus and I is a bracing and exhilarating read. The storytelling is energetic yet beautifully judged, and the characters are wonderfully alive in their warmth and brittleness, their sorrow and their joy. The energy of the novel is exuberant; the insights are wise. I was engaged from the beginning and so deeply moved by the end. A terrific book.' - Christos Tsiolkas, author of Damascus

'The world of The Octopus and I is like no other. It's real-familiar Australian coastal landscape, and people I felt I knew intimately, so precisely are they depicted-but it's also fantastical and daring. Erin Hortle's under-sea narrators are as vivid as her human cast-and that is where the poignancy lies. Humans become creatures, and creatures are more humane than humans. Standing between the worlds of water and earth is Lucy, a character drawn with tender insight, unsentimental compassion and a fierce will toward life. Hortle's writing is lyrical yet blunt; daring yet gentle; wild yet domestic. It's said that humans are sixty percent water. This book tells us that we forget that fact, and our creatureliness, at our peril. It may be where redemption lies. The Octopus and I is strange. It's singular. It's exquisite. It's haunting. It will grip you and hold you tight.' - Ailsa Piper, author of The Attachments

'All at once exquisitely poetic, fiercely intelligent, deeply Australian and laugh-out-loud funny. The Octopus and I makes you think about what it means to be a woman . . . or an octopus.' Danielle Wood, author of The Alphabet of Light and Dark and Star-Crossed (as Minnie Darke)

'This gorgeous novel thrums and sings with life. Like all great books, it is a world unto itself, one that is so compelling and satisfying to enter and observe as a reader, that I wasn't sure I ever wanted to leave.' - Ceridwen Dovey, author of Only the Animals

'Glorious, salt-tinged, lyrical writing that perfectly captures a place and the people that belong to it . . .Beautiful, captivating and wondrously oceanic.' - Robbie Arnott, author of Flames

'Fascinating, engaging and lyrical-I could feel every word of this book.' - Favel Parrett, author of Past the Shallows and There Was Still Love
show more

About Erin Hortle

Erin Hortle is a Tasmanian-based writer. Her short fiction and essays have been published in a range of Tasmanian and Australian publications. The majority of her academic and creative writing explores the ways in which experimental approaches to writing might facilitate new ways of imagining the human's relationship with the more than human world, with a distinctly feminist bent. Topics she writes about currently include ambergris, surfing and surf culture, pelagic birds and octopuses. When she's not writing, she can usually be found curled up with a book, or floating and drifting in the Tasman Sea or Southern Ocean. The Octopus and I is her debut novel.
show more

Rating details

857 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 38% (323)
4 39% (331)
3 19% (164)
2 3% (28)
1 1% (11)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X