Mermaids and Water Spirits Around the World: Background information when reading Skin of the Sea

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Skin of the Sea

by Natasha Bowen

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen X
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2021, 336 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 26, 2022, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
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About this Book

Mermaids and Water Spirits Around the World

This article relates to Skin of the Sea

Golden statue of Yoruba deity Yemoja as a mermaid resting on rocksSimi, the main character in Natasha Bowen's Skin of the Sea, is a Mami Wata, a water deity from West African mythology who is described in the novel as having a mermaid form. While the red-headed Ariel of Disney fame might be the dominant image of what a mermaid looks like for many people, they come in many forms from all over the world, and many different storytelling traditions. The Yoruba deity Yemoja is often pictured as a mermaid, and Bowen cites this as a source of inspiration for her take on a mermaid story.

Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" did much to solidify the image of what mermaids are and whose story traditions they belong in, as did Disney's later film adaptation. European concepts of mermaids have heavily influenced the contemporary imagination, but even these are more varied than most people realize. They include the German Lorelei; the French Melusine; the Merrows of Irish folklore and the selkies of tales from Scotland and the Orkney Islands, beings...

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