The Mermaid Chair

I’m fighting the instinct to abandon this book…it is a quaint read thus far but the I’m finding it a bit formulaic. I’m 1/3 through the book and not once have I been thrown off kilter or made to read a passage out loud to my family.

An adult daughter returns to her childhood home to tend to her elderly mother who has chopped off her on finger…not because she has dementia but due to some unknown reason that the daughter is there to find out and prevent further outbursts.

The title references an actual chair located at the abbey on the other side of her mother’s home. So far, other than memories of how the chair looks and sitting in and being mesmerized by it as a child, the true story or magic of the chair is still unfolding. Its one of the two curiosities that keep me reading. The other, being the mother’s story which if I had written it, she would have been the central character.

There are several points of tension in the story which helps to carry it along; between the mother and daughter, the daughter and her husband, the daughter and her haunting memories of how her father died, and the possibility of a little love interest between the daughter and a would-be-monk.

In a way I can champion the premise that the daughter will find her own voice with her mother and her husband but as a rite of passage the idea that this is coming when she is 40+ is a little annoying. The main character is an artist who paints in the upstairs attic of the home she shares with her husband who is a psychiatrist. My expectations where higher of the main character because she was an artist and she comes across as having a “mid-life” crisis and I’m finding it kinda “on the couch with oprah”.  For now, I’ll keep reading.



Filed under Fiction

2 responses to “The Mermaid Chair

  1. Dee

    If I remember correctly, the tied up edges of the ending make the struggle – if not worthwhile – at least permissible.. I’m with you on the tedious and egocentric/developmentally impaired “artist”. But I remember liking the book, overall, so I guess I’m encouraging you based on that faint impression!

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