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The Mermaid of Paris

The Mermaid of Paris

A novel by

Remember the vintage photograph of a gangly Edwardian madly peddling his bicycle-powered flying machine towards the edge of a cliff? In The Mermaid of Paris, his atmospheric fourth novel, Toronto's Cary Fagan takes us inside the mind of that reckless dreamer--one of the many who propelled the 19th century into a brand-new age of never-ceasing novelties, often with tragic personal consequences. The book opens in the spring of 1900 on the lawn of a stately riverside house in southern Ontario where Henry Church, reluctant capitalist and amateur inventor, is entertaining his small-town guests and watching out for his beautiful yet increasingly aloof wife Margaret. By the novel's conclusion three years later in a lonely French farmhouse, Henry will have lost everything--wife, house, money and social status--but made great strides emotionally.Fagan remarks in his author's note that readers may "hear echoes of other works in this novel, from Turgenev to Doctorow, from Flaubert to Marquez". With its transparent narration and lush period detailing, The Mermaid of Paris is stylistically reminiscent of late 19th and early 20th-century novels of ideas in which a single character reflects the changing values of his society. Fagan conjures up a dizzying fin de siècle world where Russian counts double as circus strongmen, sensational headlines condemn psychologists for talking about sex, and women are still considered the chattel of their husbands. While at times teetering dangerously close to Victorian-style melodrama, this mesmerising costume novel by the author of The Animals' Waltz and Felix Roth sensitively examines the plight of a cuckolded husband while raising intriguing questions about the nature of sexuality and marriage. --Lisa Alward,

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Paperback Editions

August 2003 : Canada Paperback
thumbTitle: Mermaid of Paris: A Novel
Author(s): Cary Fagan
ISBN: 1-55263-232-6 / 978-1-55263-232-1 (Canada edition)
Publisher: Key Porter Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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