Sunday, January 4, 2015



This is the kind of novel I like to refer to as a “rainy day book.” You don’t necessarily have to read it on a rainy day, and the term isn’t restricted to just books – poems and songs will do to. What I means is, The Gallery Of Lost Species is the type of book one reads during those times that sadness seems preferable to entertainment, when you feel a yearning more for bittersweet melancholy rather than satisfaction. 

Nina Burkhout's novel is the kind of book that ages you, that stays with you, that makes you think. On the surface, it’s about a girl trying to deal with life’s challenges and the fact that her family is slowly falling apart. But beneath that, it has many, many layers of interconnectedness that makes it special. Berkhout loops together themes of memory, vicarious living, age, loss, art, and countless other tiny little things that stitched together turn into a definition of life.

Everything in this book is a reflection of something else, all of which connects in myriad ways. The unicorn that Edith sees as a child turns into a symbol of hope and of loss all at once, by being reflected through the lenses of art, cryptozoology, and memory. I really do like the use of cryptozoology in this book – rather than take it from a scientific standpoint, Berkhout takes it from an emotional one, and it’s so much more effective that way. A forgotten bird transforms from mere curiosity into a sense that something wonderful has been irretrievably lost, and that creates a source of sorrow that is so much more impactful than a mere classification.

Like I said, this isn’t a book to read when you’re feeling sunny and warm. It’s for those cold, lonely days when the words written in a good book can make you feel all sorts of things, and can impact, and maybe even teach you, something about life and the way it happens all around us.

Robert Green is a confirmed bibliophile and aspiring writer whose love of sci-fi has caused him to own many more books than he has physical room for. He is also the owner and creator of the up-and-coming company Verity Books, which can be seen at various cons throughout the year. Any questions or comments can be sent to or

No comments:

Post a Comment