Fiction Short Take: The Mermaid’s Daughter – Ann Claycomb

This well-drawn novel is a contemporary riff on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid.” In trying to find the cause of a mysterious foot and leg pain that plagues the women of her family, Kathleen returns to Ireland where she finds she has a family link to Anderson’s original mermaid—and like her ancestor, Kathleen is also challenged to choose between herself and her lover.

A PS section with background information and a reading group guide makes this a nice package for book clubs.

 “[A] fine debut….Kathleen has always experienced extreme pain piercing the bottom of her feet and, strangely, the only thing that temporarily soothes her is seawater. She feels a strong connection to the sea, though her mother drowned herself in Ireland when Kathleen was just a baby….Kathleen’s girlfriend, Harry (short for Harriet), wants to take her to Ireland to see if they can uncover some truth about Kathleen’s family history and her suffering….Written with attention to musicality and the murmuring backdrop of the incessant ocean, this inventive story captures the mystery, tragic loss, and beauty of Hans Christian Andersen’s original mermaid tale while thoughtfully and passionately updating it.”
Publishers Weekly

 “Claycomb’s fine first novel is told from multiple points of view, even that of mermaids, for, yes, the novel is a loose retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid. And, like its source, it is numinous and lovely.”
— Booklist

The Mermaid’s Daughter (9780062560681) by Ann Claycomb. $15.99 trade paper original. 3/7/17 on sale.

 

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