Mermaids

Patty Dann, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $13.95 (147p) ISBN 978-0-89919-471-4
There is a charm and freshness to this first novel, whose 14-year-old protagonist, Charlotte, speaks of her mother as Mrs. Flax and whose impulse toward martyrdom is enfeebled by erotic desire. Charlotte may censure her mother's bedroom generosity, but she is doubly severe with her own, flagellating her body and emulating the nuns in the convent near her house, one of 18 she's inhabited in her short life. Mrs. Flax, whose promiscuity extends to her surroundings, has driven Charlotte and her little sister Kate all over the country looking for a place that will not pall;this time, though, the children clamor to stay. Charlotte is determined to wait there until her unknown fatherwhose shoes she keeps on her shelf as a kind of sacramentpays the visit her mother is always forecasting. Six-year-old Kate, daughter of a frustrated Olympic swimmer who disappeared before her birth, spends most of her time in the pool or the bathtub, and wants to stay put until she feels like a ""human bean'' again. Although both of their characters are sharply etched and recognizable, Kate and Charlotte make such strong demands upon the reader's affection that scenes in which only one of them appears seem incomplete. (September 29)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-312-33394-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-451-15094-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-451-16925-9
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4668-3535-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5366-3929-2
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