Mermaids in Paradise

Mermaids in Paradise

A Novel

Book - 2015 | First edition.
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On the grounds of a Caribbean island resort, newlyweds Deb and Chip?our opinionated, skeptical narrator and her cheerful jock husband who's friendly to a fault?meet a marine biologist who says she's sighted mermaids in a coral reef. As the resort's "parent company" swoops in to corner the market on mythological creatures, the couple joins forces with other adventurous souls, including an ex?Navy SEAL with a love of explosives and a hipster Tokyo VJ, to save said mermaids from the "Venture of Marvels," which wants to turn their reef into a theme park. Mermaids in Paradise is Lydia Millet's funniest book yet, tempering the sharp satire of her early career with the empathy and subtlety of her more recent novels and short stories. This is an unforgettable, mesmerizing tale, darkly comic on the surface and illuminating in its depths.
Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Company, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393245622
Characteristics: 290 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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britprincess1ajax Nov 29, 2016

MERMAIDS IN PARADISE reads like chick lit at first, focused on a woman that prattles on about getting married and where her honeymoon shall take place and what her friends think and keeping up appearances and blatty-bla-bla. On her trip to a beach resort in the British Virgin Islands, she becomes acquainted with a bunch of people that she thinks about purely in the negative as too-this, too-that, and simply not cool enough to be her friends. Keeping everyone at a safe distance, she is pulled toward this clan of alleged misfits by her husband Chip who is all-too-friendly. One of these people is a woman named Nancy, a marine biology expert who is obsessed with parrotfish. And one day, she becomes entranced by something else: mermaids. She's seen them, of course, which seems like poppycock to everyone else. But buoyant on the paradise of the island, they decide to venture out and look for these mermaids, this time with a camera. And they see them, too. They even get footage. Unfortunately, the resort catches wind of this sighting and decides to take advantage of these marvels, these people of the deep, and therein lies our conflict. The resort vs. this rag-tag team of tourists. It can be quite thrilling at times. As someone who doesn't put much stock in sci-fi novels, I was surprised at how much I liked this book. I wasn't particularly fanatical about the protagonist and her fairly obnoxious point of view, but by the end, her perspective turns toward the future and climate change and environmental destruction. It is this about-face from self-centered to selfless and concerned about the world at large that lets us glimpse behind the curtain. I am surprised how much I enjoyed this book in the end because it was, no doubt, a slog at the beginning, but for anyone who likes the environment or the water or marine life or anything of that sort, then I think you might just enjoy this one.

Mar 08, 2016

What would you do if, while on your honeymoon, a marine biologist claims she's seen mermaids? Duh, go see them for yourself. And that's where all the trouble starts, or does it? Millet writes a hilarious story about fantastical sea creatures, kidnappings, corporate greed, friendship, and marriage. I was laughing, giggling, and snorting throughout the book and had to keep stopping to explain to my son or husband what was so darn funny. Thanks Ms. Millet.

Michael Colford Jul 16, 2015

Lydia Millet has constructed a complex novel that still serves as a light-hearted, entertaining read while exploring deeper issues along with protagonist, Deb.

While honeymooning in the British Virgin Islands, Deb & Chip find themselves among a small group of tourists who inadvertently discover the existence of real mermaids. Despite their best attempts to share their discovery in a responsible way, various factions such as the tourism industry and religious zealots threaten to turn this spectacular scientific discovery into something frightening or even murderous.

Millet weaves a narrative that includes ironic humor, modern romance, and speculative fiction that works on every level. The slyly subversive ending puts a unique spin on the novel as a whole.

May 20, 2015

This is an interesting and beautifully written book, but the ending is a bit of a cop-out.

Feb 27, 2015

A funny and fun light read for days when your brain isn't ready to download anything too serious. It's distracting and original.

ArielaMigdal Jan 29, 2015

Millet is hilarious and a true wordsmith. Unfortunately, the plot is silly. Still worth reading, though.


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britprincess1ajax Nov 29, 2016

"It had taken our ancestors four million years to figure out fire. It took them five million million to develop writing. And then, in a great acceleration -- just a brief, screaming handful of seasons -- we got electricity, nukes, commercial air travel, trips to the moon. Overnight the white sands of the parrotfish were running out. Here went the poles, melting, and here, at last, went paradise. The writing got us everything all of a sudden, then nothing forever."

britprincess1ajax Nov 29, 2016

"Chip had initially wanted one of those Renaissance faire wedddings, until I told him I'd rather get a Renaissance faire divorce."


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