When you read “genre bending fiction’ you have to enter with few expectations: I was completely prepared for Lydia Millet to blow me away with something new and different.
Mermaids in Paradise
While there was a promising start as the love between Deb and Chip is being displayed: Deb is snarky, almost to a fault and Chip is a bit more than just the typical dumb jock. But neither is particularly compelling, even as the early part of the story is meant to introduce them and get the reader caring.
Then we have the first twist, scuba diving they come to see Mermaids. So a bit of fantasy overlaid with an often intrusive ‘message’ about saving the oceans. Each character is more caricature, a bit “too” much: Deb’s snark is over the top – about everything. That is her one trait. Chip – well the best I can give him is “Hush, baby”. One of those arm-candy boys that you just want to look at: when they speak, everyone says “hush baby”. That he is affable and cheerful is wonderful, but no reactions to Deb’s unending kvetch just felt like he didn’t bother to listen, or care.
The wrap-up was wholly ridiculous in introduction, premise and construct. I applaud the author’s desire to do ‘something different’, However: with 3 such disparate genres that all switched tone and increased in ridiculousness with each inclusion, it just did not work for me. I didn’t feel tension or fear in the mystery-thriller aspects, with villains that were bound to be on highlight reels of how not to be a thug.
Plotting was too thin, characters were clichéd and stereotyped without more than one or two characteristics, and the switches between genres were jarring and ultimately sloppy.
Narration in this story was provided by Cassandra Carr, and she did everything I would look for: unique voices, tone and pacing for each character, clearly distinctive voices for both Deb and Chip, and overall her performance was the standout for me.
While the concept was wonderful, the repetition, flat characters and a story that seemed to take chances but rarely did they pay off.
Stars: Overall 3 Narration 4 Story 2
Title: Mermaids in Paradise
Author: Lydia Millet
Genre: Literary Fiction, Satire
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Published by: Dreamscape Media LLC
Published on: 10 November 2014
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 38 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
Mermaids, kidnappers, and mercenaries hijack a tropical vacation in this genre-bending sendup of the American honeymoon.
On the grounds of a Caribbean island resort, newlyweds Deb and Chip—our opinionated, skeptical narrator and her cheerful jock husband who’s friendly to a fault—meet a marine biologist who says she’s sighted mermaids in a coral reef.
As the resort’s “parent company” swoops in to corner the market on mythological creatures, the couple joins forces with other adventurous souls, including an ex–Navy SEAL with a love of explosives and a hipster Tokyo VJ, to save said mermaids from the “Venture of Marvels,” which wants to turn their reef into a theme park.
Mermaids in Paradise is Lydia Millet’s funniest book yet, tempering the sharp satire of her early career with the empathy and subtlety of her more recent novels and short stories. This is an unforgettable, mesmerizing tale, darkly comic on the surface and illuminating in its depths.
A copy of this title was provided via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.