Cover image for Mermaids in paradise : a novel
Mermaids in paradise : a novel
Millet, Lydia, 1968-
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First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2015]
Physical Description:
290 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Deb and Chip, a couple honeymooning at a Caribbean resort, meet a marine biologist who claims to have sighted mermaids at a nearby coral reef, and join with other adventurers to protect the mermaids when the resort reveals plans to build a theme park on the reef.
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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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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.

Author Notes

Lydia Millet is the author of Omnivores and George Bush, Dark Prince of Love. She lives in Tucson, Arizona and New York City.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Millet (Magnificence, 2012) extends her run of audaciously imaginative and emotionally complex fiction propelled by ecological concerns in this satirical novel of big trouble in paradise. Deborah, the acidly witty, relentlessly critical, and fiercely unsentimental narrator, marries her opposite, Chip, a hunky sweetheart crazy about fantasy videogames. They honeymoon in a luxurious Virgin Islands resort, where she gets motion sickness in the floating restaurant, and outgoing Chip befriends a motley bunch, including Nancy, a tenacious marine biologist. Deborah's true nature begins to emerge when Nancy recruits them for a clandestine diving expedition to confirm her astounding discovery: actual mermaids are living along the reef. Despite her attempt to enforce secrecy, word gets out; a mermaid frenzy, including the mobilization of religious hysterics, ensues; and Nancy, a strong swimmer, somehow drowns in her bathtub. Was she murdered by the resort's corporate management in a vicious move to capitalize on the ultimate tourist magnet? Millet, devilishly funny, unnervingly incisive, and toughly compassionate, strips bare our conflicts of conscience about our dire abuse of the biosphere, then delivers a truly shocking finale.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Starred Review. 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 resorts 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Starred Review. World-class worrier Deb is a quietly hilarious observer of and cautious participant in life, especially her life with new husband Chip, an uber-friendly gamer addicted to extreme sports. When the couple settle on a tropical island for a honeymoon, Deb reluctantly agrees to a scuba-diving adventure arranged by Chip and Nancy, a parrotfish expert Chip meets. A sighting of real mermaids, Nancy's wish to videotape them for scientific study, and the spiraling viral insanity of social media soon unleash all the hellhounds of today's polarized society. When corporate powers using militarized thugs plan to "theme park" the mermaids, Deb, Chip, and Nancy rally a crew of defenders, including an ex-Navy SEAL and a brilliant, gorgeous Tokyo videojournalist. Throw in a possible murder and a kidnapping and thus is born a wonderfully comedic, poignant thriller that will have you believing in the existence of mermaids. VERDICT Deb's endearing insecurity, unexamined courage, and unwavering love for her husband allow for a charming, albeit uncomfortable, examination of the power of skewed worldviews running off the rails, fueled by ignorance and fear, while smarter, cooler heads push back. Brilliant and wildly funny, with well-placed sharp jolts of sobering reality; Pulitzer Prize finalist Millet (Love in Infant Monkeys) is pure genius. [See Prepub Alert, 5/19/14.]-Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.