Mermaids in Paradise

Lydia Millet, Author
Lydia Millet. Norton, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-24562-2
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-393-24563-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-63379-190-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-63379-194-7
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-62899-424-7
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Absurdity and paranoia permeate the latest novel from Millet (Pulitzer Prize finalist for Love in Infant Monkeys). The book follows a newlywed couple on their honeymoon at a resort in the Caribbean. Deb and Chip embody the modern American dream: they float above life, buoyed by career success, good looks, and booze. A couple of days into their vacation, a marine biologist, Nancy, disrupts their getaway when she chances upon a group of mermaids in the resort’s coral reef. After dispelling initial doubts, Nancy insists that the small crew that found the “mer” (politically correct nomenclature is key) proceeds with caution. She fears that if the information is leaked, hoards of reporters will descend on the island, endangering the mermaids and their reef home. Panic ensues when Nancy dies the following day in a suspicious drowning incident, and soon after media teams and soldiers flood the island. The original snorkel crew (Deb, Chip, a Freudian scholar, a Japanese VJ, a jaded academic) brainstorms how to save the mythical creatures—namely with videos, social media, and celebrity connections. In an era of uncharted connectivity, Millet comically deflates clear-cut distinctions between truth, fiction, and moral high ground. With equal parts calculated wryness and pleading earnestness, she delivers a thrilling piece of fabulist fiction. (Nov.)
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