Book #63

Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer
This is a book about a lot of things - grief, hope, friendship, love. It's also about what you'd do if you stumbled into the woods at dawn, found something extraordinary there, and decided to take it home.

It's a tale that might seem familiar. But how it speaks to you will depend on how you've lived until now.

Sometimes, to get out of the woods, you have to go into them.

After losing his wife, Isaac stands on a bridge and contemplates jumping. Until something screams. Upon investigation, Isaac discovers the scream has come from a large, odd-looking egg which lies abandoned in the woods. What to do? Isaac takes the egg home.

Is Egg an alien? A being created by Isaac’s grief-stricken mind? Or is he a metaphor? It never really becomes clear, but Isaac and Egg’s friendship and growth render the question entirely purposeless. As they get used to living together, trying to understand each other, and both wondering what comes next, we’re given a beautiful portrayal of a relationship built on emotion, loneliness, and hope.

Egg is a gorgeous character. Despite the slapstick moments, and the frustration at him being quite unable to accustom himself to our culture or language, he’s a sweet wee soul who provides a warm spot in an otherwise tumultuous life.

The way Palmer shows us Isaac’s actions and emotions whilst dealing with grief is one of the most raw and realistic depictions I’ve ever read. It’s so human; despite how ridiculous it seems, and how we know we all deal with things differently, it was so real, heart-wrenching yet beautiful in its way. Recognising these behaviours made me feel closer to the novel; it was wonderfully done, and horrible in its stark familiarity.

Such a strange little novel, yet worthwhile in its message. Palmer has written something very special here, and I’ll remember Egg for a long while.