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The Pisces

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  22,148 ratings  ·  4,369 reviews
An original, imaginative, and hilarious debut novel about love, anxiety, and sea creatures, from the author of So Sad Today.

Lucy has been writing her dissertation about Sappho for thirteen years when she and Jamie break up. After she hits rock bottom in Phoenix, her Los Angeles-based sister insists Lucy housesit for the summer—her only tasks caring for a beloved diabetic d
Hardcover, 270 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Hogarth Press
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Miray This is just FICTION. It is not like an animal is actually harmed. I can perfectly understand getting upset about an animal being abused in real life …moreThis is just FICTION. It is not like an animal is actually harmed. I can perfectly understand getting upset about an animal being abused in real life for film purposes, BUT THIS IS A NOVEL. Do you call 911 when someone gets shot in a novel as well? Jeez.
Brendan Lucy refers to herself as a librarian. She also refers to herself as a dog's mommy. It's a bit of a leap to assume that Broder doesn't know the differ…moreLucy refers to herself as a librarian. She also refers to herself as a dog's mommy. It's a bit of a leap to assume that Broder doesn't know the difference. (less)

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Average rating 3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,148 ratings  ·  4,369 reviews

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Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-favorites
I so don't have the words to review this right now but it made my head spin in all the right ways ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it

This is…not an easy book to read, or review, for that matter. I think readers will be really divided over it. It’s one of those that you’re either going to love, or fucking hate.

Right up front you need to know that while this book is marketed as a romance, it doesn’t read like one. This is more like women’s fiction, where the majority of the story is dominated by the female lead and her anxiety and obsessions. The merman sex doesn’t come along until a good ways in, and even then, for me, their r
if i had a nickel for every time i accidentally consumed critically acclaimed content about a woman falling in love with a part sea creature part human as a metaphor for Society, i'd have three nickels.

which isn't a lot but it is kind of crazy it happened 3 times.

this is the best of the three.

it is weird and gross and not as good as milk fed but wow!!!! melissa broder on womanhood!!! on desire and craziness!!! on the theme of nothingness in life!!!

i can't get enough.

bottom line: everything inte
This is not a book for everyone, but it was very much a book for me. I was hooked from the very first page and could not stop thinking about this book in the breaks between reading it (I went on a 4-day hike in-between and would constantly mull over this book while walking). The book starts when Lucy has apparently already hit rock bottom: her boyfriend has left her, her thesis supervisors give her a deadline to finally finish writing the thesis on Sappho she has been working on for years (and i ...more
Barry Pierce
make fiction weird again
Larry H
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
"Did it take a mythological deformity to find a gorgeous man who was as needy as I was?"

So, if you watched the film The Shape of Water and thought to yourself, "I wish I could find a sea creature to, well, you know," then Melissa Broder's new book, The Pisces , is for you. I didn't know there was such a thing as merman erotica, but here it is. (Seriously.)

Lucy's life is falling to pieces. She's been working on her doctoral dissertation on Sappho for nine years, and she doesn't know what t
Sep 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, books
This is, without doubt, one of the absolute worst books I've ever read. ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
 Nominee for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019- Longlist

Does the character in this book need therapy or do I need therapy for reading this book?

Audiobook narrated by the author, Melissa Broder. 8h 20mins

Lord knows that I will read anything and I love to diversify my literary palate. A book about a woman having some merman relations? Okay, I'll give it a try! But this book almost killed me. Now I just might be channeling my inner drama queen tonight but I emerge among the high ratings and gl
Jessica Sullivan
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, 2018-read
I never knew merman erotica was what was missing in my life until I read The Pisces. If existential angst, ennui, and mythical sea creatures speak to you on a profound level of your being, you really won't want to miss this.

Listless after her latest breakup, Lucy temporarily relocates to Venice Beach to dog-sit at her sister's beautiful home. There she attends group therapy for love addicts and attempts to cope with an ever-growing void of despair.

After a series of humiliating sexual encounters,
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, recs
Smart and subversive, The Pisces subverts the conventions of the romance novel. Lucy is a 38-year-old Classics grad student facing a bleak future. Her long-term relationship with her boyfriend Jamie has collapsed, and her dissertation on Sappho has stalled. Lucy's luck starts to change when, late one night on a walk by the shoreline, the PhD student meets Theo, an alluring swimmer who can't tear himself from the Pacific. After a series of seductive encounters, Theo reveals to Lucy an explosive s ...more
♛ may
actual footage of me throughout the entirety of this book:

I want to go back to the person I was before I read this book, honestly one of the worst books i've ever read

when i first started it, i was going to compile a list of reasons why i disliked it but by the time i got to chapter 2 i realized that would be futile bc i'd have to compile a list that 74 pages long

just know that the main character is a self centered piece of trash that hurts everyone around her, is incredibly judgemental (
I want to make this clear for those of you who get recommendations off me: The Pisces is not my usual kind of book. Anything shelved as both fantasy and romance would ordinarily get an automatic pass from me. But this wonderful review from Hannah piqued my curiosity, so against my better judgment I decided to request it and leave it up to the Netgalley gods to see whether or not I'd read it. I was approved approximately 2 minutes later, so that was that.

Thankfully, The Pisces was pretty incredib
Whitney Atkinson
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book in one sitting and all I have to say is:

1. wow
2. ..... ok
3. interesting

This book would be great to discuss in a book club because it talks about depression and making bad choices and getting over-attached to love to fill the voids in your life and it works so well. I loved watching the main character descend into chaos and nonsense, and like I said, I just could not put down this book. I'm not sure that I'll be thinking about it too far in the future because I read it too fast
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The crazy-woman disease

She had always thought we were both safe from the crazy-woman disease: that desperation and need. But now I had fallen into it, fallen all the way under, and she saw how a person could just go. One minute you were playfully complaining to friends about a man’s farts and the next minute you would kill to have the farts back.

Ladies, you've been there, right? The "crazy-woman disease" Melissa Broder is talking about? When you realise that all you want, after all your comp
Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
I received a free e-ARC through First to Read from the publishers at Penguin Random House. I need to stop being pulled in by that siren tag of ‘literary fiction.’ Clearly, publishers and I have very different ideas about what that is. (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”) Some discussion of NSFW content ahead.

Struggling through a breakup and spinning her wheels on her thesis for more than a decade, Lucy takes her sister’s offer to house-sit for her in her
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love how Melissa Broder literally writes about poop, sex, and falling in love with a merman to cope with the pain that comes from being alive. Similar to her soul-probing nonfiction work So Sad Today , Broder brings such a distinct, interesting, and neurotically self-aware voice to her novel The Pisces. I am certain that some people will despise this book, as Broder writes graphically about messy sexual encounters and other R-rated things, and Lucy, the main character, can be really annoyin ...more
Emily B
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can definitely see why this book isn’t for everybody, however I desperately wanted to read it because I adored Melissa’s essay collection So Sad Today: Personal Essays I particularly love how raw her writing is and the Pisces is no exception to this.

The Pisces brutally explores Codependency, vulnerability, emptiness, and desire through the main character, Lucy’s, relationship break up and the ways in which she tries to cope with this. As a result Lucy finds herself attending group therapy ses
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was EVERYTHING I want from fiction and I loved it without reservation. It’s been so long since I fell so hard and so completely for a novel. Perfection. It’s that funny/depressing exploration of existential pain, suffering and ennui I love so much while being the exact kind of weird that speaks to me. Broder takes us deep into the void (as she did in her essay collection SO SAD TODAY) and offers us the absurd – merman love! – and I was all about it. Honestly, you quite simply have to read t ...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Full review here

A novel that could to be sad and hilarious at the same time. I would never have imagined I'd find a book disturbing but will still will be able to love it.

We follow the story of Lucy, who loses her long-term boyfriend over an angry blurt-out confession and moves away to California to be a temporary dog-sitter to her sister. Aiming to spend a few months there she tries pulling herself together by hooking up with strangers, joins a group therapy with other 'emotionally broken' wom
Sep 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Throw in some references to a metaphorical womb, graphic and disturbing sex scenes, and existential questioning and you've got a Melissa Broder novel! The Pisces had a constant hunger; hunger for more, hunger to be loved, wanted, desired. After reading I offer these sentiments: Dick will not restart you, don't fuck sirens, death and love are both beautiful ancient haunting things that seem too powerful to be on earth here with us... too powerful for humans; too intense. We should've never gotten ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am romantically obsessed with this book.
Nat K

"You're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to love."
- Robert Palmer

"I always thought I could handle things, until I couldn't."

Lucy is neurotic, has obsessive tendencies and is a bit of a mess.

Instead of completing her thesis (many years overdue), she's stuffing around. Mooning over her breakup with Jamie, her long term boyfriend, whom she was bored with anyway. She didn't think he'd take her up on her offer to take a break. Funding for her dissertation will be removed unless she completes it
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

I read this on Friday while sitting at multiple baseball games in the 1,000,000 degree heat. By Sunday I decided enough was enough with the baseballing and took the youngest fishing while waiting with baited breath for my very own merman to come out of the pond. What I got instead??????

Yep, those are port-a-johnnies. I guess mermaid sex just isn’t in the cards for me. *shrug*

Now about the book. Literary merman porn???? Yep, that ‘b
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I didn’t know what I was doing or who I was being, but I knew that I liked it better than me.

Strange, funny and at times perverse and disgusting, this story has a compellingly dysfunctional protagonist.

The story is told mainly over the course of a summer as newly and unhappily single Lucy avoids completing her thesis while dog-sitting at her sister’s house in Venice Beach. During her visit, she joins a therapy group for sex and love addicts and falls in love with a mythical creature, which is c
Thank you, Penguin Random House for sending me "The Pisces" by Melissa Broder, in exchange for an honest review.

Absolute insanity! Holy smokes - what a freaky little novel, and yet I was thoroughly entertained. I think this going to be one of those books that people will either really like, or really hate. I would've easily given "The Pisces" 5 stars, but I was turned off by a couple of sex scenes, (I won't tell you which ones) so I had to dock a star, unfortunately.

I also think people might h
May 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: shelf-awareness


I am not sure how much of this is supposed to be satire or funny, but good god this is one weird fucking book.

Everyone’s reviews seem to focus on Lucy’s narrative, which is cool because that’s the main point of the book. She’s a self-centered, egotistical, anxiety-ridden crazy person who lashes out. SHE initiates the breakup, then gets mad when her ex follows through with it? She breaks his nose when he moves on? She stalks him via mutual friends?

Yes, I’m supposed to root for her someh
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
★★★ /5

This was definitely a really interesting and thought-provoking book. It had an unlikable main character, and it helped to see the problems and conflicts of this book in a different light. For the first time, I read a book with such ideas written in this way. The story itself was truly unique, and the pacing of it was well done, it didn’t drag or went too quickly.
I really liked the ideas discussed in this way but sadly I didn’t enjoy the book itself. I found that the actual story didn’t mak
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A novel about existential malaise and destructive love which is fantastic and raw, like a weird combination of a Maggie Nelson piece and Bridget Jones. I loved this book, however the Maggie Nelson comp should warn you - this book describes in graphic detail bodily functions - but it is not gratuitous. The relationship women have to their bodies is often overlooked or sanitized - this book takes the raw, bloody and vulnerable experience of female sexuality seriously. Oh, and there is a merman.
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Author Melissa Broder is known for her expertise and writing on psychological conditions which was the theme of her bestselling memoir “So Sad Today” (2016). In her debut novel, “The Pisces” Broder takes her writing to a new enchanting level when the protagonist falls in deeply love with a man of the sea. While there are things unknown and mysterious about him, this spellbinding story unfolds like nothing ever read before,

As the story opened, 38 year old Lucy was having difficulty writing a the
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the shorter books from the Women's Prize for Fiction, The Pisces is about obsession and the lengths Lucy will go in pursuit of love. From a stalled PhD to a love-obsession support group to a bizarre surfer she encounters at the beach, there are a lot of memorable moments, but more in the "oh god this is uncomfortable and terrible" kind of way. (But I couldn't stop listening to the audio read by the author either, so there is that.)

Lucy reminds me of Miranda July's Cheryl (from The First B
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Goodreads Librari...: Duplicate edition 3 18 Dec 12, 2021 04:09PM  
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Play Book Tag: The Pisces - Melissa Broder - 2.5 stars rounded to 3 11 39 Mar 31, 2019 09:12PM  
Around the Year i...: The Pisces, by Melissa Broder 1 15 Jan 08, 2019 08:41AM  

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Melissa Broder is the author of the novels MILK FED and THE PISCES, the essay collection SO SAD TODAY, and five collections of poems including SUPERDOOM: Selected Poems and LAST SEXT.

She lives in Los Angeles.


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