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The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd – Excellent Read

September 28, 2011
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidds The Mermaid Chair is the soulful tale of Jessie Sullivan, a middle-aged woman whose stifled dreams and desires take shape during an extended stay on Egret Island, where she is caring for her troubled mother, Nelle. Like Kidds stunning debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees, her highly anticipated follow up evokes the same magical sense of whimsy and poignancy.

While Kidd places an obvious importance on the role of mysticism and legend in this tale, including the mysterious mermaids chair at the center of the islands history, the relationships between characters is what gives this novel its true weight. Once she returns to her childhood home, Jessie is forced to confront not only her relationship with her estranged mother, but her other emotional ties as well. After decades of marriage to Hugh, her practical yet conventional husband, Jessie starts to question whether she is craving an independence she never had the chance to experience. After she meets Brother Thomas, a handsome monk who has yet to take his final vows, Jessie is forced to decide whether passion can coexist with comfort, or if the two are mutually exclusive. As her soul begins to reawaken, Jessie must also confront the circumstances of her fathers death, a tragedy that continues to haunt Jessie and Nelle over thirty years later.

By boldly tackling such major themes as love, betrayal, grief, and forgiveness, The Mermaid Chair forces readers to question whether moral issues can always be interpreted in black or white. It is this ability to so gracefully present multiple sides of a story that reinforces Kidds reputation as a well-respected modern literary voice. –Gisele Toueg

Excellent Read
I liked this book more than I thought I would, but it wasnt what I was expecting. I wasnt really expecting a southern-set fiction book, for some reason I thought it would be one of those heavy literary type books. Boy, was I in for a good surprise! Very well written, a story about a woman going through some sort of middle-age crisis. Stunted by her past, she only is able to move forward by discovering why her mother chops off her own finger. The story is set in South Carolina – a funny on this one, I grew in the lowcountry and I love to read about it and I was racking my brain trying to figure out where this island was, I could not remember such a island. At the end, the author notes that the island is a figment of her imagination… *laugh*

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The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

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