This is a beautiful book, but if you crave a fast-paced narrative, this book is not for you. However, if you liked "The Secret Life of Bees," you will not be disappointed. Similar in its Catholic iconography, "The Mermaid Chair" raises questions of faith, love, and god. My bookclub enjoyed reading and dicussing the book while we ate three different shrimp dishes.
I enjoyed this! The pace is relaxed--there are a lot of flashbacks--but it's appropriate for the story. I suspect the reviewers who were bored were younger than 40. When you send your last child off to college and start wondering who you are, this is the perfect book to read. I became totally engrossed in the narrator's family relationships, sense of place, and forbidden romance.
But sure wants to be. If you want a wonderful book about the southern coast and southern culture, listen to anything by Pat Conroy. (In this book the main character says, "I'm not Pat Conroy, you know") This is a common novel with empty people and a plot that tried too hard. Very disappointing.
One reviewer described the main character as being full of ennui. Well--that's what a mid-life crisis is. You arrive at the point where the kids are out on their own and you're at a loss for who you are and what you want. You start looking at yourself *in relation to* other people that you come across. You wonder if some of them might help you forge a different definition of yourself. Ms. Kidd relayed that deftly in a story that has no "right" ending. The words are well-chosen, the emotions are right in line with what those us in mid-life (especially those with trauma in their lives) are facing. Well-told and interesting, beautifully written.
I almost stopped listening to this book midway through, but I stayed with it. I found it worth the time, with a nice message at the end. Not important or classic, but an good read (or listen).
I really enjoyed this book. It was rather strange, but it left me with tears in my eyes at the end. If a book can make me cry--it has to be good!