Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water and Rachel Ingall’s Mrs Caliban

In 1982 The British Book marketing Council unveiled a list of what it anointed the Best American Novels Since WW2. The list contained a stunner no one expected and all but a handful of people had read: Mrs Caliban by Rachel Ingalls. I immediately bought it read it out of curiosity more than anything else. What a book! A miniature masterpiece, totally unforgettable. A suburban housewife has an affair with a sea monster which has  escaped from the abusive regime of an aquarium. Over the years this magical book has not acquired the readership it deserves and its author apparently reticent. Faber published collections of her novellas but they never seemed to garner reviews or sales. I am reminded of this great book today because the grand prize at the Venice Film Festival, the Golden Lion, has been awarded to Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, about a housewife who has an affair with a sea monster….

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