The luminous new novel from the author of the phenomenal bestseller The Secret Life of Bees.
Sue Monk Kidds stunning debut, The Secret Life of Bees, has transformed her into a genuine literary star. Now, in her much-anticipated new novel, Kidd has woven a transcendent tale that will thrill her legion of fans and cement her reputation as one of the most remarkable writers at work today.
Inside the abbey of a Benedictine monastery on tiny 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. Jessie Sullivans conventional life has been "molded to the smallest space possible." So when she is called home to cope with her mothers startling and enigmatic act of violence, Jessie finds herself relieved to be apart from her husband, Hugh. Jessie loves Hugh, but on Egret Islandamid the gorgeous marshlands and tidal creeksshe becomes drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk who is mere months from taking his final vows. What transpires will unlock the roots of her mothers tormented past, but most of all, as Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, she will find a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right.
What inspires the yearning for a soul mate? Few writers have explored, as Kidd does, the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. The Mermaid Chair is a vividly imagined novel about the passions of the spirit and the ecstasies of the body; one that illuminates a womans self-awakening with the brilliance and power that only a writer of Kidds ability could conjure.
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 Hughs lower lip, each one perfectly timed, like a metronome.
Twenty years of this puffing. Id heard it when he wasnt 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 whod 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...
Kidd was born and raised in the tiny town of Sylvester, Georgia. Her writing has been deeply influenced by place, and she mined her experiences of growing up in Sylvester when she wrote she mined her experiences of growing up in Sylvester when she wrote teachers, who described her as a 'born writer', she detoured into nursing ('partly due to a failure of courage and partly due to the cultural climate of the South in 1966') during her twenties. However, in her thirties (now with a husband and two children) she felt the pull to return to writing and enrolled in a writing class. One of her personal essays written for class was published in Guideposts Magazine and reprinted in Readers Digest, and ...
If you liked The Mermaid Chair, try these:
"Wells' voice is uniquely her own, funny and generous and full of love and heartbreak, in that grand Louisiana literary tradition of transforming family secrets into great stories"
A story of personal renewal and transformation - one woman's proper Old South upbringing and expectations colliding with the new South's runaway prosperity.
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