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Mrs. Caliban Author Rachel Ingalls Passes Away at 78

Remembering the gifted writer of female-focused and surreal tales. 

Rachel Ingalls

On March 7th, writer Rachel Ingalls' death was announced by her publisher New Directions. The critically-acclaimed but often overlooked author was 78. 

Ingalls was known for strange and stunning stories that use surreal, magical elements to explore the difficult compromises humans — particularly women — make in everyday life. An article published in The New Yorker on March 4th, before the news of her death, praised Ingalls' narrative marriage of allusions, fables, and high strangeness to explore her "central concerns—about art, about chance and fate, about love and aggression."

In recent years, Ingalls' work received increased attention with the 2017 re-release of her novella Mrs. Caliban, after being out of print for 30 years. The stunning fairy tale follows the love between Dorothy, a repressed 1950s housewife, and Larry the sea monster. Mrs. Caliban explores repression through a fantastical lens, much like the movie with which it was often compared in 2017, Guillermo del Toro's Academy Award-winning The Shape of Water

RELATED: Before The Shape of Water, There Was Mrs. Caliban 

In addition to Mrs. Caliban and several short story collections, Ingalls' bibliography also includes the novel Binstead's Safari. The story follows a wallflower wife who convinces her inattentive husband to allow her to join his safari, and experiences a dramatic personal transformation as she accompanies the search for a legendary lion god. Kirkus Reviews said of the novel in 2018, 

Another witty, elegant story from a writer whose atavistic vision of romantic love is resonant and deeply satisfying. Escaping the overblown egos and endless self-indulgence of the males of their own species, Ingalls' women find their true soul mates elsewhere.

In honor of her life and legacy, take a moment today to download one of Ingalls' seminal works, and explore her resonant messages about domesticity, desire, and what kind of people — or creatures — deserve women's love. 

Read Rachel Ingalls today! 

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