The Mermaid Chair

the-mermaid-chair Sue Monk Kidd

The third of the “Books by Authors I Really Dig” is Sue Monk Kidd’s new book The Mermaid Chair. Kidd made quite the splash a few years ago with The Secret Life of Bees (so much so that one of my friends left the tech sector to start an apiary). The Mermaid Chair is a bit slower and sadder than Secret Life, but beautiful and tense. Her main character, Jessie, goes home to take care of her mother on a small island off of South Carolina. While trying to take care of her cantankerous and possibly mentally ill mother, Jessie falls in love with a monk at the nearby monastery. She swings from guilt to happiness, inspired to paint for the first time in years and at the same time fearful that she will destroy everything she has built with her husband and daughter. While the story is relatively straight-forward, Kidd has such a wonderful alive way of writing that even standing is rotting swamp muck sounds fabulous.