The Mermaids Singing ~ by Lisa Carey, 1998, fiction (Ireland)
It is only at night that she has the strength to wander. Rising quietly, so as not to disturb her lover, Grace pulls a sweater over her pajamas, slips her feet into running sneakers. Stephen had bought her the sneakers to wear in the hospital after she refused to put on the regulation blue foam slippers. She is not a runner but she likes the height of them, the curve of the soles which roll her forward like a boat lifted by waves. She wraps a scarf around her gruesome bald head.Updated ~ Vonnie left a question in the first comment: "Is this book about mermaids? If so, I'm adding this to my list!" I should have told you more about the book. It's about three generations of women and "the Island of the Mermaids" off the coast of Ireland. Here's a synopsis from the publisher.
She passes through the cottage quickly, without looking at the tacky furniture — leftovers from someone else's life. Stephen had rented this place so Grace could be near the sea. Sometimes she calls it "the hospice," in an attempt to be the blunt, witty sort of dying person she would like to be.
Somewhere off the west coast of Ireland lies Inis Murúch — the Island of the Mermaids — a world where myth is more powerful that truth and where the sea sings with the healing and haunting voices of women. It is here that Lisa Carey sets her lyrical first novel, weaving together the voices and lives of three generations of Irish and Irish-American women.So Grace in those opening lines definitely does die, probably near the opening of the book. And then we journey to Ireland with the grandmother and granddaughter.
Years ago, Clíona — strong, proud, and practical — sailed for Boston, determined to one day come home. But when the time came to return to Inis Murúch, her daughter Grace — fierce, beautiful, and brazenly sexual — resented her mother's isolated, unfamiliar world. Though entranced by the sea and its healing powers, Grace became desperate to escape the confines of the island, one day stealing away with her small daughter Graínne.
Now Graínne — motherless at fifteen after Grace's death — is about to be taken back across the ocean by Clíona, repeating the journey her mother was forced to make years before. She goes to meet a father she has never known, her heart pulled between a life where she no longer belongs and a family she cannot remember. On the rocky shore of Inis Murúch, she waits for her father and begins to discover her own sexual identity even as she struggles to understand the forces that have torn her family apart.
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.