Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review: Short Story Week

The Mermaid Quilt & Other Tales


If you like mermaid tales (resisting all puns here), I've got a gentle book for you, The Mermaid Quilt and Other Tales by Beth Camp. Her slim collection of mermaid inspired tales and poems spans from the impoverished and steamy coast of Mexico to the cold to the unforgiving seas of the Arctic to the lyrical Scottish seaside. Even freshwater mermaids get the treatment during one of the more haunting tales, Rusalka, that embraces a hope for the future during an episode of a brutal purge of the Jews in Russia.

Amazon Link
I don't critique poetry, but the reader will find them tucked between the stories, enhancing the mood of mermaid lore, which has always seemed touching in a sad way. Our mysterious cousins of the deep seem destined to be kept at arms-length because, well, we'd drown in their environment without mystical aids as presented in The Tower and the Net or they'd be taken to a lab for dissection in our world. (Just ask Madison from Splash!) Yet, they seem, like in the title story, The Mermaid Quilt, to have a firm grasp of the power of empathetic healing for our hearts and apply their talents as best they can.

It's a nice, tidy, well-written book. For mermaid lovers, it's a must for your shelves. For those of us who prefer terra firma, with only the sound of the sea not the singing of mermaids to lull us to sleep, it is a top-shelf 4.

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Being accused of murder is bad enough, but having to rely on your estranged and abusive father for help is worse. However, that is Ben Hawkins' predicament in Linda Johnsons' chapbook, REDEMPTION: A Short Story. The twist is: Does dad's drastic solution to Ben's situation really become the stuff of redemption or start another cycle of bad decisions?

The well-written story is enjoyable if a bit short on digging into the complex process of redeeming oneself from past transgressions. The short story is a solid 4.

3 comments:

K.W. McCabe said...

I love mermaidss :) Sounds like Beth's book is my type of book :)

Thanks Rick :)

Rick Bylina said...

Never saw a mermaid, but had a forty-pound codfish give me a good slap across the face once. And I didn't even say anything provocative.

Edith Parzefall said...

I've got a copy of The Mermaid Quilt. Now I can't wait to read it. Thanks, Rick!