I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Lucy has been writing her dissertation about Sappho for thirteen years when she and Jamie break up. After she hits rock bottom in Phoenix, her Los Angeles-based sister insists Lucy housesit for the summer—her only tasks caring for a beloved diabetic dog and trying to learn to care for herself. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube atop Venice Beach, but Lucy can find no peace from her misery and anxiety—not in her love addiction group therapy meetings, not in frequent Tinder meetups, not in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection, not in ruminating on the ancient Greeks. Yet everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer one night while sitting alone on the beach rocks.
Whip-smart, neurotically funny, sexy, and above all, fearless, The Pisces is built on a premise both sirenic and incredibly real—what happens when you think love will save you but are afraid it might also kill you.
So, I will be away for half of May, and I’m getting an early start on myMerMay project. This book qualified, as the main character is romanced by a merman.
I went into this book expecting a romance--don’t. It has to do with the importance our society gives to romance for women. How we are found to be odd, crazy, or strange if we aren’t focused on a relationship with a man. How we are to be considered defective without a partner.
Lucy has broken up with her boyfriend almost by accident and is plunged into depression and bizarre behaviour. Her sister offers her a house-sitting gig to get away and figure things out. She can stay in the sister’s house and take care of the sister’s dog as long as she goes to therapy. For a while, she finds she can love the dog and forget about men.
Lucy finds it difficult to take the group therapy seriously--all the women seem so damaged that she really doesn’t want to identify with them. However, she gradually begins to see the similarities and to see the women as more than their oddities. Meanwhile, she pursues liasons with men on Tinder, believing the superstition that her boyfriend will come back to her if she finds someone else. And she takes to sitting by the ocean at night, where she makes friends with a swimmer. Only of course he’s a merman.
It seems like Broder made all the characters pretty unlikeable, at least to me. But I did appreciate her frank assessment of the craziness that women are sometimes driven to in their pursuit of an unreasonable cultural dictum. And I also appreciated that she didn’t make Theo, the merman, into some kind of real romantic leading man. This isn’t the Little Mermaid in reverse. At least not the Disney version--it may bear more resemblance to the original Hans Christian Anderson tale, in the lack of a happy, romantic ending.