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The Pisces

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3.25  ·  Rating details ·  7,528 ratings  ·  1,637 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 do
...more
Hardcover, 1st, 288 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing UK (first published May 1st 2018)
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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.
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Lucy Dean Exactly! Library Assistant possibly. This is a huge gaffe for a writer to make, alienating those who would normally be pleased to see a librarian as a…moreExactly! Library Assistant possibly. This is a huge gaffe for a writer to make, alienating those who would normally be pleased to see a librarian as a protagonist & would promote her book professionally. I was really looking forward to reading this as it's longlisted for a prize, but found myself seething by page 2! The situation is compounded on page 4 when she decides to "trudge" on, "not wanting to quit and get a "real" job"! I wonder what that would be. Unbelievable! Don't writers use libraries and accept help from librarians? Some of us even have doctorates under our belts without a stipend of $25,000 pa for 9 years!
I am very disgruntled & expect someone who has attended two universities to have more respect for the profession.(less)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,528 ratings  ·  1,637 reviews


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Navessa
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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Hannah
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
Larry H
"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 to do
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Michael
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, favorites
My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.

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 Pac
...more
Jessica Sullivan
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
...more
arianna
Mar 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
i received this book for free in a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

i will write this review in the nicest way possible...i did not enjoy this book at all. it opens up with a statement about how intimate picking up the feces of her sister's dog is, which i should have immediately pinned as a red flag that this book would be unenjoyable at the least.

but i kept reading it.

to the book's defense, i did read this book in about three hours. it was a fast read, even if i did skim thr
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Rachel
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
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Erin
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
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Swaye
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.
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
...more
Robin
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 compla
...more
Jaclyn Crupi
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Amelia
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am romantically obsessed with this book.
Theresa
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
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Thomas
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 annoying ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

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 ‘bout
...more
Kaisha
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rebecca
At first I thought this was one of those funny, quirky but somewhat insubstantial novels about a thirtysomething stuck with a life she isn’t sure she wants – something along the lines of Goodbye, Vitamin, The Portable Veblen, or All Grown Up. Then I thought it was just a crass sex comedy. (Broder is a poet. I can’t begin to imagine what her poetry would be like!) But the further I read the deeper it all seemed to become: tropes from Greek myth and the fluidity of gender roles made me think of Yo ...more
Michelle
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ellen ✦ Book Bellas ✦
"These things never happened but always are."

An instant classic. How to describe a story that is smart, incredibly funny, profoundly sad and highly erotic? Oh yes, and there’s a merman, too! I love this author!

Honestly, I have been having a hard time letting go of Lucy and Theo. A book that mixes humor and eroticism AND Greek mythology? A THOUSAND YESSES TO THE PISCES!! Lucy is despondent (but still neurotically funny) after a messy break-up with her long-time boyfriend. She leaves Phoenix whe
...more
may ❀
actual footage of me throughout the entirety of this book:
(ಥ﹏ಥ)

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 (
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
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
...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
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' women, and meets a
...more
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
...more
Julie Ehlers
Okay, so, this book is bonkers. If you've read the description on Goodreads or elsewhere, you may have sussed out that, after an abrupt breakup with her longtime boyfriend, our heroine Lucy has a bit of a breakdown and escapes her home in Phoenix to house- and dog-sit in Venice Beach. (view spoiler)

For me, the (view spoiler)—perhaps because I was expecting him—was not the most bonkers part of the book. The most bonkers part was bei
...more
Emily
This book is insane, gleefully and wholeheartedly insane. The basic plot summary is this: after the breakup of her long-term relationship, Lucy spends a summer in Venice Beach and falls in love with a merman. They have a ton of merman sex, described in realistic and detailed prose. (This is not a traditional romance novel; there is no fade to black, there is no coy allusion.) Simultaneously, Lucy is finishing her thesis on Sappho and taking care of her sister's dog. That's it. That's the whole p ...more
Britta Böhler
I dont know whether it's meant to be satiricial but thats how I read it...
3.5*
Emily B
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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’. 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 sessions, joining
...more
Tori (InToriLex)
Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex

The unlikable protagonist in this book made me want to reach in and shake her. The people who have liked this tale of Lucy finding herself on Venice beach and making increasingly selfish and self destructive choices have emphasized that it's funny. The humor didn't work for me because my tolerance for people complaining about things most people would be happy to have is very low. I was entertained by the authors inclusion of side characters and absurd ci
...more
Bianca
Beautifully neurotic, eloquent, raw and completely mental, The Pisces was an arresting read.
I was somewhat reluctant to pick it up on account of its fantastical aspect, in the shape of a merman. As you can tell from my rating, the fantasy part didn't prevent me from thoroughly enjoying this novel.

Lucy is thirty-eight years old and is working on a dissertation on Sappho. It's not going particularly well. Her long-term relationship with Jamie, who was commitment phobic, implodes.
Gripped by anxiet
...more
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Around the Year i...: The Pisces, by Melissa Broder 1 10 Jan 08, 2019 08:41AM  

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“Maybe [the ocean and I] were on the same side, comprised of the same things, water mostly, also mystery. The ocean swallowed things up--boats, people--but it didn't look outside itself for fulfillment. It could take whatever skimmed its surface or it could leave it. In its depths already lived a whole world of who-knows-what. It was self-sustaining. I should be like that. It made me wonder what was inside of me.” 11 likes
“In some ways, my moods did and did not exist. People said that you could will a mood into being or will it away. Just think positively. But I never felt that way. My moods were their own entities, even if no one could understand why they were there. That was what made me scared of feelings. I realized now what I had to do, in spite of what others said, was not try to change a mood but surrender to it. I had to surrender to whatever feelings arrived and in doing so I could maybe ride them, floating on the waves. I decided I was going to surrender.” 6 likes
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