Sue Monk Kidd The Mermaid Chair

ISBN 13: 9780143036692

The Mermaid Chair

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9780143036692: The Mermaid Chair
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The New York Times–bestselling second novel by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings 

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.

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Review:

Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair is the soulful tale of Jessie Sullivan, a middle-aged woman whose stifled dreams and desires take shape during an extended stay on Egret Island, where she is caring for her troubled mother, Nelle. Like Kidd's stunning debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees, her highly anticipated follow up evokes the same magical sense of whimsy and poignancy.

While Kidd places an obvious importance on the role of mysticism and legend in this tale, including the mysterious mermaid's chair at the center of the island's history, the relationships between characters is what gives this novel its true weight. Once she returns to her childhood home, Jessie is forced to confront not only her relationship with her estranged mother, but her other emotional ties as well. After decades of marriage to Hugh, her practical yet conventional husband, Jessie starts to question whether she is craving an independence she never had the chance to experience. After she meets Brother Thomas, a handsome monk who has yet to take his final vows, Jessie is forced to decide whether passion can coexist with comfort, or if the two are mutually exclusive. As her soul begins to reawaken, Jessie must also confront the circumstances of her father's death, a tragedy that continues to haunt Jessie and Nelle over thirty years later.

By boldly tackling such major themes as love, betrayal, grief, and forgiveness, The Mermaid Chair forces readers to question whether moral issues can always be interpreted in black or white. It is this ability to so gracefully present multiple sides of a story that reinforces Kidd's reputation as a well-respected modern literary voice. --Gisele Toueg

From the Back Cover:

"Book clubs, start your engines. . . . [The Mermaid Chair] is a tapestry strengthened by bonds between women that bridge pain and loss."
—USA Today

"The pages all but turn themselves."
—Parade

"Soulful in its probing of the human heart."
—San Francisco Chronicle

"Kidd 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

"It’s hard to put this book down for things like eating and sleeping."
—Elle

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780670033942: The Mermaid Chair: A Novel

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ISBN 10:  0670033944 ISBN 13:  9780670033942
Publisher: Viking, 2005
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9780755330942: The Mermaid Chair

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9780755327003: The Mermaid Chair

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9781846170836: The Mermaid Chair (Charnwood Large Print)

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