Review:: The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander

In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island.

These are the facts.

Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice. (via Goodreads)

I received an eARC of The Only Harmless Great Thing from in exchange for an honest review.

Did you read The Radium Girls and think, “Hmm. This needs more elephants.” No? Well, clearly you are not Brooke Bolander. Which is okay, because I don’t know that the universe could handle two of her at once.

Bolander’s writing in The Only Harmless Great Thing is lyrical, atmospheric and stunning, two of my favorite things. It takes a little while to get into what the actual plot of this story is, but once you get there, you will absolutely be hooked. I love the matriarch of the elephants and the translator.

I also loved the sensationalist newspaper articles and poetry included in this novella. I won’t say a lot more because I think it deserves to be read unspoiled, but I think you will fall in love with this novella, too. You can pick up a copy for yourself from Amazon or Indiebound.

crying fox emoji giving a thumbs up

Disclaimer: All links to Indiebound and Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money off of it.

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