source: free ARC via Amazon Vine
title: The Pisces
author: Melissa Broder (twitter)
published: May 1st 2018 by Hogarth Press
first line: I was no longer lonely but I was.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection.
Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, THE PISCES is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.
my thoughts: I honestly don’t know where to begin.
The Pisces by Melissa Broder was one of the most intriguing and shockingly brazen books I have ever read.
I feel as though I have found a hidden gem. I found this one on AmazonVine and the cover and blurb intrigued me. This is one of those books that begs to be discussed, I’ve been thinking about it long after turning the final page.
There are elements of erotica, magical realism, mental illness and women’s issues woven into the plot. Author Melissa Broder is a poet and columnist and she does not hold back, her writing is straightforward, shocking and poetic all at once. This is a story about love and loss and addiction. And sex with a mer-man. Is he real? Is he an illusion? Who knows. I still don’t know. I think he is a metaphor for addiction. Only Lucy ever sees him, only she knows he exists. I was shocked while reading. Often. And then I also felt creeped out and then also sad. I laughed out loud at times as well.
The story centers around Lucy who is 38 and writing her dissertation on Sappho. She works at the university that funds her project. One day she decides to tell her boyfriend of 8 years, Jamie, that she wants to break up. She is bored of him. Soon after this, much drama ensues with Jamie and Lucy starts to unravel and spirals out of control. She ends up going to house/dog sit for her wealthy sister in Venice Beach California for the summer. While there she joins a therapy group for addiction where she meets other women who are in similar self-destructive situations.
While house sitting Lucy continues to go downhill and looks for love in all the wrong places until one day while at the beach she meets a younger guy named Theo. Theo doesn’t leave the water and eventually admits to Lucy that he is a mer-man. The two start having a romantic relationship and Lucy visits him daily by the water. One day she asks him if she can somehow bring him to her sister’s house.
Lucy is the most unlike-able character, much of her inner monologue was messed up. This truly was like watching a train-wreck. It was awful to witness but I could not look away; I could not turn the pages fast enough. The way she would rationalize what she was doing was hard to stomach at times. I wanted to scream at her. Theo was creepy as all hell, yet intriguing. He asks alot from Lucy. He is the type of guy who says “if you love me, you will do it”. Plus, how creepy is the whole merman thing? I loved the way the author would pull you along, then scare you a little. Bravo. Does Lucy truly know Theo? What does he want from her?
The icing on the cake was that author Melissa Broder‘s writing was fantastic. I really enjoyed the hell out of this book. I love it when a book pushes the envelope.
I did have two little qualms. Sometimes the writing was so shocking that it felt like it was just too much information. Like yuck. Actually that was my only issue with this book, some of these scenes were very explicit when it came to bodily functions. I’ll also mention, there is something bad that happens to a dog. I saw it coming however, so I expected it but it’s very sad. I figured I’d mention the dog thing because I know that might be a trigger to some readers, myself included. I’m very sensitive when it comes to animals in story-lines, dogs in particular.
This book was so good, I won’t soon forget this one. I wish I could re-read it for the first time again. I recommend it if you enjoy taboo, shocking reads with elements of fantasy and mythology woven in. The ending leaves you thinking especially since Lucy is an unreliable narrator and you don’t really know what is real or what she is making up.
I will close with a few of my favorite passages:
“I wanted to be the one to no longer give a fuck. Could you sculpt yourself into one who does not give a fuck?” –p.48, The Pisces by Melissa Broder
“The hunger in me suddenly felt bottomless. It scared me a little.”- p.64, The Pisces
“I needed more than the universe could give me. Clearly my feelings were too big for the universe to hold, too disgusting. I would not put them out there like that again. I didn’t even want to have to feel them myself.”-p.152
“Here was a bit of magic that could happen in my life. After all the nothingness, maybe this fantasy was worth living for.”-p.153
disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my free copy of The Pisces by Melissa Broder via AmazonVine.
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