Kritika's Reviews > Men Who Wish to Drown

Men Who Wish to Drown by Elizabeth Fama
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's review
Sep 04, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: paranormal-creatures, short-story-and-novella

I was intrigued by the blurb for Monstrous Beauty, and since I probably can't get my hands on that book for a while, I jumped at the chance to read this short story. I think it's a sort of prequel or a teaser - not really sure about that - but it definitely got me even more interested in reading the novel.

The story is basically a letter from Resolved "Henry" Stanton to his grandson, delivered after his death. It recounts his encounter with a mermaid, Syrenka, and how it changed his life. The story is so haunting, and you begin to feel the same tug of the sea and the incessant longing for another life that Henry does. Even though the piece is short, Henry seemed like a real person to me. His regrets about always picking the safer way out and the way he described his life after Syrenka were so realistic, as though this story was a chronicle of history rather than a piece of fiction. The ending was the sort of ironic, twisted conclusion that usually drives me nuts, but in this story I felt like it was the only way it could have ended. After all, mermaids aren't all fluff and happily-ever-afters.

The language of this was utterly gorgeous. There is so much imagery and emotion seeping out of the words, and it creates such a rich story. My favorite sentences:
"Darkness folds around you, just as soft water closes around a stone tossed into a pond, claiming it.

And then a hand plucked the stone from the pond, which is not meant to happen."

The image was so beautiful, and it had the eery quality that this story has been steeped in.
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