When I finished this book and turned over the last page, I wanted to fling open my front door and run around my yard screaming and crying in rage, anger…but mostly frustration.
Why? Because this book was a little too good. It was funny, but mostly its silliness was really thinly disguised sadness. After all, Lydia Millet’s snarky comments on “Middle America” – the “Heartland”, religious fanatics and obesity were right on. While the rest of the world looks on with shock and horror (except for certain Muslim countries) America has “Creation Museums” and loud climate deniers (funded of course, by the big oil companies).
The plot of this book focuses on Deb and Chip, a hip and trendy kind of couple and their erstwhile honeymoon to one of the British Virgin Islands. While there, they meet a marine biologist who discovers mermaids. The mermaids are real and what ensues is a world-wide reaction including religious fanatics; calls to kill the mermaids; and the corporate owners of the resort trying to “herd” the mermaids onto the reef with gigantic fishing nets so that they can display them for money. In other words, true-to-life mayhem.
I won’t spill and tell you the ending of the book. However, I did want to mention that I read two reviews of this book and neither one of the reviewers (Boston Globe and Washington Post) mentioned the purloining of a large segment of American society. I found that interesting, since I feel that this was the main reason Lydia Millet wrote this book. I could always be wrong, of course. I did enjoy the book, but for me it hit quite close to certain American behavior which is full of black humor, although not on purpose. So, if you like black humor, I suggest you read this book.