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Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

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October 2017 Debut of the Month

This exuberant debut about living life to the full with that someone special (who might just happen to have four legs and a tail) races through a riotous rainbow of emotions, and will delight fans of eccentric fictional voices, especially those of the committed canine-lover variety.

Forty-two year-old Ted is struggling to recover from breaking-up with a long-term partner, and the only thing that makes life feel worth living is Lily, his twelve-year-old dachshund (that’s eighty-four in dog years). Then, during one of their regular evening discussions, Ted notices that something’s not right with Lily. “It’s not often you see an octopus up close, let alone in your living room, let alone perched on your dog’s head like a birthday hat,” Ted observes. It turns out that the octopus is a hungry tumour that seems set on ending their time together. What follows is a quirky tragi-comic journey through their transformative relationship, as Ted reflects on their life together. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, with a spicy sprinkling of magic realism, this quirky top-dog-dynamo of a debut has much to offer Matt Haig fans. ~ Joanne Owen





Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Companions come in all shapes and sizes.

Companionship lasts forever. Ted and Lily - Enjoy long walks. Watch films together. Have been known to share a pizza. Love each other fiercely. Have been inseparable for 12 years. But there is one more twist to come in this tail...


`A stirring journey through the life of one man and his dog, peppered with laughter and heart-tugging moments. The Daily Mail

`This cute and quirky tale will steal your heart' The Sun

'Lily and the Octopus is the dog book you must read this summer.... Reading this heart-wrenching but ultimately breathtaking novel was a very profound experience.... As Lily might say, `YOU! MUST! READ! THIS! BOOK!' The Washington Post

Startlingly imaginative...Lily and the Octopus is a love story sure to assert its place in the canine lit pack ...Be prepared for outright laughs and searing or silly moments of canine and human recognition. And grab a tissue: THERE! WILL! BE! EYE! RAIN!' Newsday

'Sensitive, hilarious, and emotionally rewarding.... The intimacy of pet ownership is sweetly suffused throughout this heartwarming autobiographical fiction... In generous helpings of bittersweet humanity, Rowley has written an immensely poignant and touchingly relatable tale that readers (particularly animal lovers) will love.' Publishers Weekly

'Steven Rowley's touching, fresh, energetic novel isn't simply another boy and his dog
story. It is a profound exploration of grief - how we find ourselves lost, how we search for reason, how we sacrifice ourselves for our loved ones, all to avoid paying the octopus. But the octopus will be paid. And in settling that debt, in the magical, hopeful world of Lily and the Octopus, we will learn to live-and love-again. A wonderfully moving story.' Garth Stein, bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

'An exceedingly authentic, keenly insightful, and heartbreakingly poignant tribute to the purity of love between a pet and its human.' Booklist (starred review)

'A quirky and deeply affecting charmer of a novel, Lily and the Octopus is funny, wise, and utterly original in its exploration of what it means to love any mortal creature. This brave little dachshund will capture your heart, as will her prickly, tenderhearted, and irresistible owner. Don't miss their adventures together.' Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants

'Singular, spectacular, and touchingly tentacular.' Chris Cleave, bestselling author of Little Bee

'You will tear through this big-hearted, inventive novel. A fast and funny read that also happens to be a profound meditation on love and forgiveness, Lily and the Octopus is a delight. Christina Baker Kline, bestselling author of Orphan Train

'Intelligently written, finely observed, and surprisingly moving, this is a book you'll find hard to put down. Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project

'A whimsical, touching tale' People

'My favorite book of the year: Steven Rowley's Lily and the Octopus. Hilarious, heartbreaking. You will absolutely cry and you will love it. Patrick Ness, bestselling author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here

'You don't need to be a dog lover to enjoy Steven Rowley's new book, Lily and the Octopus, but if you've realized you like your dog more than most humans you encounter, this is one you won't want to miss.' Newport Beach Independent

'In his funny, ardent and staunchly kooky way, Rowley expresses exactly what it's like to love a dog.' Kirkus Reviews

'Rowley shares a moving, profound tale of grappling with loss.' Real Simple

'It is a joyful book; it is also a sincerely written tragedy that invoked the purity of friendship between animal/human family members. It's laughter through tears. Rowley has a sense of humor with just enough morbid sensibility to appeal to a wide audience (even if animal best friend books aren't one's thing). Yet, he navigates the five stages of grief and loss while inspiring others to appreciate the lives we already have.' Edge Media

'Portland's Steven Rowley strikes a chord in a moving book about heartache and friendship that is expected to be a big seller this summer.' Portland Press Herald

'The connection between man and dog is loud and clear in this sweet novel...' Fort Worth Star-Telegram

'Author Steven Rowley uses humor and pop-culture references to tell a whimsical story of courage in the face of heartbreaking reality. Philosophical and introspective, Lily and the Octopus also looks at the transformative power of love, the importance of forgiveness and the beauty of really living, letting ourselves be seen instead of hiding in plain sight...I laughed, I sobbed, and at the end, I felt as if I'd caught up with a friend over coffee.' The Free Lance-Star

About the Author

Steven Rowley has worked as a freelance writer, newspaper columnist, and screenwriter. Originally from Portland, Maine, he is a graduate of Emerson College. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his boyfriend and their dog. Lily and the Octopus is his first novel. Follow him on social media @MrStevenRowley.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th October 2017


Steven Rowley

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Simon & Schuster Ltd


320 pages


Relationship Stories
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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