Format: Trade Paperback
Dimensions: 368 pages, 7.85 × 5.14 × 0.68 in
Published: March 7, 2006
Publisher: Penguin Books
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0143036696
ISBN - 13: 9780143036692
About the Book
A #1 "New York Times" bestseller, this dazzling novel of passion and spirituality is penned by the author of "The Secret Life of Bees." "Soulful in its probing of the human heart."--"San Francisco Chronicle."
Read from the Book
February 17, 1988, I opened my eyes and heard a procession of sounds: first the phone going off on the opposite side of the bed, rousing us at 5:04 a.m. to what could only be a calamity, then rain pummeling the roof of our old Victorian house, sluicing its sneaky way to the basement, and finally small puffs of air coming from Hugh’s lower lip, each one perfectly timed, like a metronome. Twenty years of this puffing. I’d heard it when he wasn’t even asleep, when he sat in his leather wing chair after dinner, reading through the column of psychiatric journals rising from the floor, and it would seem like the cadence against which my entire life was set. The phone rang again, and I lay there, waiting for Hugh to pick up, certain it was one of his patients, probably the paranoid schizophrenic who’d phoned last night convinced the CIA had him cornered in a federal building in downtown Atlanta. A third ring, and Hugh fumbled for the receiver. “Yes, hello,” he said, and his voice came out coarse, a hangover from sleep. I rolled away from him then and stared across the room at the faint, watery light on the window, remembering that today was Ash Wednesday, feeling the inevitable rush of guilt. My father had died on Ash Wednesday when I was nine years old, and in a convoluted way, a way that made no sense to anyone but me, it had been at least partially my fault. There had been a fire on his boat, a fuel-tank explosion, they’d said. Pieces of
From the Publisher
The New York Times–bestselling second novel by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings (Viking, January 2014)
Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.
When Jessie Sullivan is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable behavior, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life “molded to the smallest space possible.” Jessie loves Hugh, but once on the island, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk about to take his final vows. Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and majestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right and the immutable force of home and marriage.
Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie’s life? What happens will unlock the roots of her mother’s tormented past, but most of all, it will allow Jessie to comes discover selfhood and a place of belonging as she explores the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic.
About the Author
SUE MONK KIDD is the author of the novels, The Secret Life of Bees
and The Mermaid Chair
, and the memoirs, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, When the Heart Waits
, and Firstlight
, a collection of early writings. The Secret Life of Bees
has spent more than 125 weeks on the New York Times
bestseller list and was adapted into an award-winning movie. The Mermaid Chair
, a #1 New York Times bestseller, was adapted into a television movie. Each of her novels has been translated into more than 24 languages. The recipient of numerous literary awards, Sue lives in South Carolina with her husband.
"Book clubs, start your engines. Sue Monk Kidd''s first novel, The Secret Life of Bees , has sold 3 million copies since 2002.…Those are big shoes to fill, but Kidd acquits herself admirably with The Mermaid Chair ….Both novels drip with vivid images of hot Southern afternoons, droning insects, swooping birds and oases in which nature is the fabric of life. It is a tapestry strengthened by bonds between women that bridge pain and loss. Most important, both have passages of beautiful writing… Kidd wrote two well-received memoirs before turning to fiction. But perhaps the answer ultimately given by The Mermaid Chair is that a storyteller also can change course and come of age in the middle of her life."— USA Today "Her writing is so smart and sharp, she gives new life to old midlife crises, and she draws connections from the feminine to the divine to the erotic that a lesser writer wouldn''t see, and might not have the guts to follow."— Time "(A) rewarding second novel by the author of the bestselling Secret Life of Bees . Writing from the perspective of conflicted, discontented Jessie, Kidd achieves a bold intensity and complexity that wasn''t possible in The Secret Life of Bees , narrated by teenage Lily. Jessie''s efforts to cope with marital stagnation; Whit''s crisisof faith; and Nelle''s tormented reckoning with the past will resonate with many readers. This emotionally rich novel, full of sultry, magical descriptions of life in the South,