Lydia Millet finds mermaids in her new novel

November 12, 2014 1:07 PM

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Lydia Millet's new novel, "Mermaids in Paradise" (W.W. Norton; 290 pages, $25.95), operates on a variety of levels, from parody to romance to (in its own way) oddball thriller, tracing a couple on their honeymoon who get embroiled in high-stakes drama after they discover actual mermaids swimming off a tropical reef.

And yet, Millet suggests by phone from Tucson, where she lives, "it's really a conventional novel, a story about the evolution of a personality." Like its narrator, Deb, a young woman from Southern California whose chirpy good cheer masks a hidden toughness, the book is sneaky in its depths.

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