Mermaids in Paradise, by Lydia Millet; W.W. Norton & Co, $25.95, 304 pages. (November 3, 2014)
Looking for a beachside novel to tote to sunny locales during your winter getaway? Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet (Love in Infant Monkeys) delivers something slyly different from the usual cabana literary fare. The book starts with a traditional honeymoon narrative: newlyweds Chip and Deb disembark at a gorgeous Caribbean island, fully prepared to do nothing more than bask in the sun. Instead, they meet a marine biologist who has recently discovered a group of mermaids living off the coast. After the discovery goes public and hoteliers try to capitalize on the find, there’s no more quiet vacation for the lovebirds. Murder and intrigue soon follow in this quick-witted, fast-paced satire. Millet’s wonderfully dark, surreal story manages to address the serious topic of misusing natural resources with verve and biting wit, while straddling a few literary genres at the same time. Allow yourself to get lost in this frothy frolic.