Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New reads:

This week I'm reading The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. A few years ago, I read her book, The Secret Life of Bees, and liked it so when I saw this at the last library book sale, I thought I'd give it a go. And yes, I am aware it has taken me an insanely long time to actually get around to reading this book. I've had a ridiculously long queue (it's still ridiculously long -- and about to get much longer).

Have you read it? If not, here's what it's about:

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

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 is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother's seemingly inexplicable act of violence, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life 'molded to the smallest space possible.' Jessie loves Hugh, but once there, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk who is soon 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 transpires will unlock the roots of her mother's tormented past, but most of all, it will allow Jessie to make a marriage unto herself.

Few novels have explored, as this one does, the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. Where does the yearning for soul-mated love come from? When it comes to love, what are the pulls inside a woman between the ordinary and the sublime? How does a woman find the place of self-belonging in herself?

The Mermaid Chair is a vividly imagined novel about mermaids and saints, 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."

I'm about half way through it. So far, I like it okay. It's not the best book I ever read but I enjoy her writing style and it's easy to read.

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