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The Mermaid Girl: A Story

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3.61  ·  Rating details ·  688 ratings  ·  278 reviews
From Erika Swyler, author of The Book of Speculation—one of BuzzFeed’s Best Fiction Books of 2015-- a short story of a mermaid who ran away from the circus, and what happened when she started a life on land.

Before she was a suburban wife and mother, Paulina Watson was the Mermaid Girl of Carnival Lareille. She traveled everywhere with two boxes: the first with red sequins
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ebook, 36 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Fonda Rush I got my copy from St. Martin's Press. They are the ones to contact. Goodreads is not a sponsor of any give-away. They only provide the place. They…moreI got my copy from St. Martin's Press. They are the ones to contact. Goodreads is not a sponsor of any give-away. They only provide the place. They don't guarantee anything. So, contact the one who sponsored the give-away, which may be St. Martin's Press, 9 Joanna Ct., East Brunswick, NJ 08816, and they should be able to help you. All of this information is listed on the pages you go through to sign up for the give-away.(less)

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karen
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, hey-shorty
The problem with stealing the magician's assistant from a carnival was that you were always waiting for her to disappear.

The problem with marrying the mermaid girl from the carnival was knowing that one day she'd swim away.

this is just a teensy short story prequel to the swyler's novel, The Book of Speculation.

it features daniel and paulina, the parents of the narrator from t.b.o.s.; characters who do not directly appear in the novel, for reasons. despite being so short, this story really packs
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Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
The problem with marrying the mermaid girl from the carnival was knowing that one day she'd swim away.


3.5 stars

This is a beautiful short story that is part of a world created by a novel, The Book of Speculation, that I have not read. And because of this little fact, I can't really give this story more than 3.5 stars. I have a feeling if I'd read the novel already this would have been a much higher rating, but alas I never do anything right.


There is some absolutely gorgeous writing here and f
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Sandra
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Super short story as prequel to The Book of Speculation in which we meet Paulina, mother of Simon and Enola. In the novel we had learned that she drowned, eventhough she was a 'mermaid':
(from TBOS) "Paulina, my mother, was a circus and carnival performer, fortune-teller, magician’s assistant, and mermaid who made her living by holding her breath. She taught me to swim like a fish, and she made my father smile. She disappeared often. She would quit jobs or work two and three at once. She stayed
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TL
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The problem with marrying the mermaid girl from the carnival was knowing that one day she’d swim away.

"In the dark morning hours, the ritual of paper against paper was calming, even if she couldn’t always feel the edges of the cards. Shuffling, cutting, was as automatic as braiding her hair, tying her shoes, or wiping a smudge away with spit and a thumb. She asked questions. Michel had taught her that all cards came with questions, whether reading tarot, playing poker, or doing magic. "

The water
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Theresa
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won this in a giveaway!

This a cute short story (a prequel to Erika Swyler's debut novel, "The Book of Speculation"). Swyler's writing style has this beautiful and poetic quality to it. She's a natural storyteller. I found myself completely immersed in the book's protagonist, Paulina Watson. "The Mermaid Girl" is sweetly sublime, and now I'm 100% interested in reading, "The Book of Speculation". This novella was so much fun to read. I loved it. :)

Kels
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I really wish I would have read this short story directly after I finished The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler, which by the way was phenomenal and an instant favorite. I feel like if I had I would have connected more to this story. Yet even still, Swyler's prose is breathtaking and vivid. Her characters are paintings, and their stories are songs. I strongly doubt I'd ever say that reading anything she's penned was a bad choice.
Karen Mace
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, netgalley
I received a copy of this via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.

This was a beautiful little read that has me itching to read The Book of Speculation of which this is the prequel to.

Paulina was the mermaid at the circus - she was the assistant to the magician Michel Lareille, who she saw as a grandfather. She felt safe at the circus. Always on the move. This short story sees her as a wife and mother. Stuck in one place she keeps getting cripping headaches. We get to see flashbacks
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MaryannC.Book Fiend
I won this on a Goodreads give away. Actual rating is 3.5 stars.

This short story is a prelude to Erika Swyler's book The Book of Speculation. The writing had a lovely, almost poetic way about it which centers around Paulina, The Mermaid Girl who had traveled with the Carnival Lareille, who reminisces about her life as she raises her two children.
Diana
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this poignant tale that tells us more about Simon's mother and father. I loved its lyricism, how true the characters rang and the story it told.
Rebecca
May 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
I requested this assuming it was a new novel from the author of The Book of Speculation, which I missed out on last year. What it actually is, though, is a short story prequel. This meant that I spent the whole time trying to figure out who the characters were and how they were connected, so I did not get much out of this at all. However, I did like this passage: “Headaches were like birds. Starlings. They could be perfectly calm, then a single acorn could drop and send the entire flock to the s ...more
Cheri
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, novella

This is a prequel story to Erika Swyler’s novel, The Book of Speculation, which I have not read. Nevertheless I was enchanted from the first page of this little novella. It is short, thirty-some pages, but it is definitely not short on charm, and a little bit of magic.

I am now very anxious to read The Book of Speculation.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and to author Erika Swyler for this delightful story.
Melissa
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who's read "The Book of Speculation"
A very quick read and a wonderful addition to The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler I shifted back and forth a bit as to whether I was liking this or not, but I'm such a huge fan of "TBOS" that I quickly fell in love with this little prequel. I'd love for everyone to read and enjoy this, however I'd highly recommend that "The Book of Speculation" be read first. If not than I feel this won't be appreciated as much as it should be. I read and loved "TBOS", St. Martin's Press had an awesome offer and bookish gift of the tarot cards l ...more
Ashley M
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: givaways
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book felt more like an advertisement for the full length novel, The Book of Speculation by the same author. I feel like if I had read the novel first which was published first, I wouldn't have gained anything to help me with the short story that is this book.

The book was quite frustrating and confusing at times because for a short story, I felt like I was being dragged back and forth either through time periods, or different events going back and fort
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Julia
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the story of Paulina, the mother of Simon and Enola from The Book of Speculation. I read this immediately after finishing The Book of Speculation, and I am glad I read the book before this story. I felt like there were little clues and hints you would only get if you read the book first. I did not find this story quite as interesting as the book, maybe because I knew how Paulina's life would end. I do think the story is good to read as further insight into the lives of Simon and Enola.
Lynn
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
While the subject of the story seemed interesting at first, I found the story hard to follow, because it seemed to skip around too much. The writing was good, but I felt it lacked continuity in the storyline and depth of the characters. I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for my honest review.
Alexis
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways, series
This book is short. Like chapter length short but that's what it's intention was I believe. To be an epilogue of sorts for the main book, The Book of Speculation. That is the reason it took me so long to get my review on here. I had trouble thinking of a review for such a short little read.

The reason for this is because I wanted something adequate for it. This may be short but it is packed full of gorgeous writing. The imagery in it is stunning and Swyler clearly has a talent for words. I imagin
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Elaine
I won a copy of The Mermaid Girl from a Goodreads Giveaway.

When I requested a copy, I thought it was for a new novel. Also, I did not realize the author is also the author of The Book of Speculation, a book I did not like though the premise excited me initially.

The Mermaid Girl is a very short prequel to The Book of Speculation. I was able to remember a few bits and pieces from The Book of Speculation yet the only thing I really remembered was how disappointed I felt after finishing it.

There are
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Bekah
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I stumbled upon this at a bookstore, printed together with the first chapter of The Book of Speculation. It is short and leaves you with questions, as I find most short stories do. But I didn't even mind. It was just so beautifully written. I found myself pausing now and then to appreciate how beautifully a sentence or paragraph had been crafted.
Sometimes you made love to a man because you wanted your body to feel something other than the aches and pains of use. Sometimes you made love to a ma
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Lolly K Dandeneau
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sweet when it takes bites out of you this prequel is lovely, I admit I liked this more than the novel. It's short but a powerful little story. "As harsh as outside noises were, the ones that came from inside were worse." I highlighted favorite lines, as I obsessively do and was surprised how much I did for so short a story. I was punched in the gut with all the thoughts Paulina had, moment to moment. And can I just add that the cover is lovely? I wish this was longer- I found myself seduced by t ...more
Liz Pollinger
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I won this book from Goodreads.

As a young girl Paulina was part of a Carnival. She grew up playing the part of a Mermaid in a tank of water. She is now an adult, married with two children living on Long Island. She seems to be unhappy in her life and not quite sure what to do about it. Danny, her husband, loves her very much, but he too can't seem to bring her happiness, even though she says she is. Her life seems to be lacking something. The book says it is a prequel to The Book of Speculation
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Mary
I won a copy of The Mermaid Girl on Goodreads Giveaways. This diminutive booklet held a special interest for me since I had already read and loved The Book Of Speculation by Erica Swyler. This is a very delicate and lovely short story that adds just a bit more background and interest to her novel...a very enjoyable read.
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this story from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Before she was a suburban wife and mother, Paulina Watson was the Mermaid Girl of Carnival Lareille. She traveled everywhere with two boxes: the first with red sequins for the dress she wore as a magician’s assistant, the second with green sequins for her mermaid tail. She'd grown up on wild stories told by wild circus people. Books, she hadn’t had books until she’d found Daniel Watson and stopped moving.
The
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Elyse
Won in a Goodreads Giveaway.

I guess I'll be rereading this after I've read The Book of Speculation since I'm totally lost. A lot of reviewers said you won't get anything out of it until after you read The Book of Speculation. Then it will make sense. It was a weird little story by itself.
WTF Are You Reading?
The Mermaid Girl provides readers with an extremely intimate view of relationships. The relationship between a husband and wife. The relationship between a mother and her children. The relationship between a woman and her past.

Paulina Watson can still remember the sparkle of the sequins that she was charged with sewing on to her costumes when she served as one of the star attractions of the Carnival Lareille.

Red, for the dress she wore at the side of grandfatherly magician and carnival owner, M
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Izabella ⋆ Pages Full of Stars ⋆
"She shut her eyes and knew that if she wished, she could count the days, the hours, since she'd last pricked her finger to make herself shine."

The Mermaid Girl is a beautifully crafted novella, full of stunning imagery.

Paulina was once a part of Carnival Lareille, the spectacular mermaid girl, bewildering the audience with her glittering tail and the ability to stay underwater for a long time. Until she met Daniel who swept her away and offered her a normal, settled down life. But even though
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Marleen
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From other reviewers I now understand why it would have been better reading this small prequel to The Book of Speculation after I’ve read the full novel (The Book of Speculation that is). Still this Kindle single gives me a thorough taste of the author, Erika Swyler’s immense talent.
Swyler’s writing evokes such strong emotions, on a visceral and palpable level. There’s a welcoming depth and complexity to the two main characters, Paulina and Daniel Watson. You can’t help but be extremely captivat
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Jamie
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
My thanks to St. Martin's Press and Goodreads Giveaways for sending me a copy of this book for review!

This was a beautifully written short story (and prequel to The Book of Speculation, which I haven't read.) about Paulina Watson, who grew up on the road with a traveling carnival and later a circus. From age thirteen she was the "Mermaid Girl" swimming underwater for hours at a time wearing a red sequined mermaid tail. One day she falls in love and gets married to Daniel, and spends years trying
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Kelsi H
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Please check out all of my reviews at http://ultraviolentlit.blogspot.ca!

This is a short little prequel to Swyler's 2015 novel The Book of Speculation. It tells the story of Simon and Enola's mother Pauline - a mermaid who ran away from the circus to start a family of her own. The relationship between Pauline and her husband Daniel is touching, as are her interactions with six year old Simon, who begs her to tell circus stories in the middle of the night. I have not yet read The Book of Speculat
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Yuckamashe
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I won a giveaway!!! I feel like the dad in a "Christmas Story" when he won his major award! This book was sent to me for free! Having put that disclaimer, I laughed hysterically when the book arrived. I failed to look at the details such as the page count. My sister says it is a pamphlet. It is a tiny little short story. For such a meager page count, it really has a lot of draw. It reminded me of one of my favorite authors Alice Hoffman. It is most like her book "the Museum of Extraordinary Thin ...more
Lyn
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
This story was all over the place. A lot of times, it would be in one setting for just one paragraph, and in another in the next, and another in the next. I get that this is a short story, but I still think the skipping around was a little excessive. It made it hard to follow. I actually read this out loud to my mom, and she seemed pretty confused at times, because she couldn't see all the breaks - I could see all the breaks and was still a little confused at times. It did end up having a good t ...more
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Erika Swyler is the author of The Book of Speculation, a national bestseller, Indie Next pick, and a Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year. Her forthcoming novel, Light from Other Stars (Bloomsbury, 2019), is about a young girl and an invention that alters the fabric of time. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in Catapult, VIDA, The New York Times, and elsewhere.

Erika lives on Long Island, NY, w
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“Headaches were like birds. Starlings. They could be perfectly calm, then a single acorn could drop and send the entire flock to the sky.” 5 likes
“She'd wanted that, a grandfather. Someone who would stay. Michel had an eyetooth that turned sideways and she loved it more than anything else in the world. But someone wasn't yours because you loved a tooth.” 1 likes
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