the mermaid by christina henry
Berkley, Release Date: June 19, 2018
4 / 5 Stars | Review by Ink
In this melancholy take on a classic mermaid mythology, a willful mermaid takes her destiny into her own hands when she agrees to work for American showman PT Barnum.
Sharply-plotted and well-paced, The Mermaid weaves together a tale of mermaids and men that traverses the distance between curiosity and corruption, and explores feminist themes that harken back to the days earliest days of the American circus.
Most engaging is Henry’s character treatments of both the mermaid, Amelia, and American showman PT Barnem. Avoiding the typical mermaid trope, Henry instead envisions the mermaid as a siren-like creature of the sea, in tune with her desires. Likewise, Henry’s portrayal of PT Barnem pulls no punches, characterizing the founder of the so-called “museum of freaks” as a man driven as much by his need for fame as for the corresponding fortune.
Sometimes long-winded and unnecessarily verbose, there were a few parts of the story that could have been more carefully crafted, but overall this was an enjoyable read.
Thanks to Berkley and Penguin Random House for an advanced review copy