Rediscover: Mrs. Caliban
Rachel Ingalls, an American author who lived most of her life in the U.K., died earlier this month at age 78. She achieved critical acclaim but limited commercial success. Her best-known book, Mrs. Caliban (1982), languished in obscurity until 1986, when the British Book Marketing Council named it one of the 20 greatest American novels since World War II. Her debut novel, Theft, won the 1970 Authors' Club First Novel Award. Her 11 books also include Binstead's Safari (1983; just re-released by New Directions); The Pearlkillers (1986), Days Like Today (2000) and the story collection Times Like These (2005).
Mrs. Caliban follows a lonely housewife named Dorothy, who hears a radio announcement that a monster has just escaped from the nearby Institute for Oceanographic Research. When an amphibious biped named Larry walks into her house, Dorothy finds a kind of companionship otherwise lacking in her life. New Directions recently republished Mrs. Caliban with a new introduction by Rivka Galchen ($13.95, 9780811226691). --Tobias Mutter