April 2024
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The Mermaids Singing, Lisa Carey

This is a story about three generations of Irish women, in the end coming full circle back to the island of their origin.  Watching them repeat the mistakes of their forebears because of lack of communication is sad.  Although each story is a little different, the connections between them are obvious even as they are intertwined.  Cliona gives birth to her daughter, Grace, in America, knowing that she will be rejected if she returns to her Irish island.  Grace rebels almost instantly against her mother, and it is her story that is the saddest as she never quite gets what she wants and loses everything in the end.  Grace’s daughter, Grainne, is extremely close to her mother but has believed her grandmother dead since she was three.  Instead, she finds herself returning to the island, facing a new life that she must adapt to.

I enjoyed this book.  I thought there was little too much emphasis on sex, as there does tend to be, and the author frequently talked about how people smelled.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I know very few people who have such a distinctive smell present around them all the time.  In fact, I can only think of one.  It threw me out of the story instead of bringing me in, which I don’t think was the author’s intention, just because she talked about people’s scents very frequently.  Setting that aside, I found the book moving, especially the communication barriers that life constantly throws up around us.  That is so true, especially between teenagers and their parents.  Families can be brutal and I think that Lisa Carey shows how true that is, despite the love that is ever-present.  I’m not sure I would recommend this book to someone else unless they suggested it first, but I did enjoy it.


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