「The Mermaid Chair」

The Mermaid Chair/Sue Monk Kidd (著)
外貨参考価格: $24.95
価格: ¥2,471 (税込)
OFF: ¥434 (15%)
ハードカバー: 335 p ; 出版社: Viking Pr ; ISBN: 0670033944 ; (2005/04/07)
From Newsweek
Mermaid mess

It’s tough to follow a critically acclaimed novel, particularly one as successful as “The Secret Lives of Bees.” Unfortunately, Sue Monk Kidd’s latest novel, “The Mermaid Chair” (Viking, $25) has none of the “Bees” magic.

The book tells the story of Jessie, living a humdrum life in Atlanta, when she suddenly gets word that her mother has chopped off a finger with a meat cleaver. This leads Jessie back to her childhood home on Egret Island, where her father perished in a boat fire when she was only 10. In the ensuing years, her mother has become a religious fanatic, who cooks for the local monastery and is fascinated by the island’s own saint, said to have once been a mermaid.

While there’s much that could be interesting about that scenario, the book reads more like one long soap opera, with Jessie acting on feelings for one of the monks (“Thorn Birds,” anyone?) and her mother and her mother’s friends coming off like a group of Ya-Ya sisters.

It’s hard to feel that much sympathy for Jessie, who seems more like a bored housewife than a character with an actual conflict — and I never quite bought the fact that she was a fantastic artist whose talent blossomed with the love of a good monk.

The mystery behind why her mother chopped off the finger ends up not having much payoff — mostly because the crux of the mystery lies with the father, who never appears as a full character. Everything we hear about him is secondhand, so it’s hard to be that involved in his story.

Fans of “Bees” will most likely be disappointed by this new novel. Let’s hope Kidd finds the magic with her next book.