Friday, October 30, 2009
The Mermaid Chair
This novel, written by Sue Monk Kidd, is about Jessie Sullivan, a middle-aged housewife caught up in twin predicaments of marital tedium and empty nest syndrome. An emergency phone call leads her to rush to her childhood home on Egret Island just off the coast of South Carolina, also the home to a monastery in which her widowed mother works as a cook. Her mother inexplicably has mutilated herself. Jessie remains on an extended stay at Egret Island, leaving her husband behind, with two goals in mind: trying to help her mother heal in both body and spirit, and looking into what really happened when her father was killed in a boating accident years ago. Also part of the plot is the situation in which Jessie finds herself attracted to Brother Thomas, a monk who is a few months away from taking his final vows. What ensues between Jessie and Thomas helps both discover what their needs and desires are, and where to direct their lives.