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The Mermaid Chair | [Sue Monk Kidd]

The Mermaid Chair

Sue Monk Kidd's stunning debut, The Secret Life of Bees, has transformed her into a genuine literary star. Now, in her much-anticipated new novel, Kidd has woven a transcendent tale that will thrill her legion of fans and cement her reputation as one of the most remarkable writers at work today.
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Publisher's Summary

Sue Monk Kidd's stunning debut, The Secret Life of Bees, became a best-selling phenomenon and a modern classic. Now, in her luminous new novel, Kidd has woven a tale that will cement her reputation as one of the most remarkable writers at work today.

Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on tiny Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a mysterious chair carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.

When Jessie is summoned home to the island to cope with her mother's inexplicable act of violence, she is living with her husband, Hugh. Jessie loves Hugh, but she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk who is soon to take his final vows.

Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie's life? What transpires will unlock the roots of her mother's tormented past and it will allow Jessie to make a marriage unto herself.

The Mermaid Chair is a vividly imagined novel about the passions of the spirit and the ecstasies of the body. It illuminates the awakening of a woman to her own deepest self with a brilliance and power that only a writer of Kidd's ability could conjure.

©2005 Sue Monk Kidd; (P)2005 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"Kidd's second offering is just as gracefully written as her first and possesses an equally compelling story." (Kirkus Reviews)
"This emotionally rich novel, full of sultry, magical descriptions of life in the South, is sure to be another hit for Kidd." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (476 )
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3.7 (138 )
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3.9 (131 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Julie Clarke 07-20-06 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    464
    15
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
    1
    Overall
    "Beautiful but Plodding"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Nashville, TN, United States 07-04-06
    Linda Nashville, TN, United States 07-04-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    4
    Overall
    "good for midlife"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Whiting, IN, United States 06-01-06
    Lisa Whiting, IN, United States 06-01-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    480
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    70
    30
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    14
    0
    Overall
    "Not Pat Conroy"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Pullman, WA, United States 02-03-06
    Barbara Pullman, WA, United States 02-03-06 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    93
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    106
    19
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    2
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    Overall
    "Mid-Life Crisis"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ferrell Foster Texas 12-14-05
    Ferrell Foster Texas 12-14-05 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    9
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    0
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    "It grew on me"

    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).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valeri Rock Hill, SC, United States 07-26-05
    Valeri Rock Hill, SC, United States 07-26-05 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    5
    Overall
    "Good romance story"

    This is a great summer read/listen, perfect for the beach or sunbathing by a pool.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Northbrook, IL, USA 07-08-05
    Nancy Northbrook, IL, USA 07-08-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
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    98
    30
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    "A Winner"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ida Anthem, AZ, United States 02-28-07
    Ida Anthem, AZ, United States 02-28-07 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    "Great"

    Excellent reading.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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