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The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock: A Novel af…
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The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock: A Novel (original 2018; udgave 2018)

af Imogen Hermes Gowar (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
7593522,141 (3.61)65
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction * A Refinery 29 Favorite Book of the Year * A Booklist Top 10 First Novels of the Year * A People Best Book of the Fall "Wonderful... completely transporting."  --Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Circe and The Song of Achilles In 1780s London, a prosperous merchant finds his quiet life upended when he unexpectedly receives a most unusual creature--and meets a most extraordinary woman--in this much-lauded, atmospheric debut that examines our capacity for wonder, obsession, and desire with all the magnetism, originality, and literary magic of The Essex Serpent. One September evening in 1785, Jonah Hancock hears an urgent knocking on his front door near the docks of London. The captain of one of Jonah's trading vessels is waiting eagerly on the front step, bearing shocking news. On a voyage to the Far East, he sold the Jonah's ship for something rare and far more precious: a mermaid. Jonah is stunned--the object the captain presents him is brown and wizened, as small as an infant, with vicious teeth and claws, and a torso that ends in the tail of a fish. It is also dead. As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlors and brothels, all of London is curious to see this marvel in Jonah Hancock's possession. Thrust from his ordinary existence, somber Jonah finds himself moving from the city's seedy underbelly to the finest drawing rooms of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of the coquettish Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on--and a shrewd courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting sparks a perilous liaison that steers both their lives onto a dangerous new course as they come to realize that priceless things often come at the greatest cost. Imogen Hermes Gowar, Britain's most-heralded new literary talent, makes her debut with this spellbinding novel of a merchant, a mermaid, and a madam--an unforgettable confection that explores obsession, wonder, and the deepest desires of the heart with bawdy wit, intrigue, and a touch of magic.… (mere)
Medlem:groovygrl3
Titel:The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock: A Novel
Forfattere:Imogen Hermes Gowar (Forfatter)
Info:Harper (2018), Edition: 1st Edition, 496 pages
Samlinger:To Be Read, Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock af Imogen Hermes Gowar (2018)

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» Se også 65 omtaler

Engelsk (34)  Hollandsk (1)  Alle sprog (35)
Viser 1-5 af 35 (næste | vis alle)
This is why I don't like Book Clubs! How can anyone give this book less than 5 stars? I utterly loved it, and was sorry when it ended. If you loved this book as much as I did then try Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue. That is all. ( )
  helensdatter | Jun 5, 2021 |
Oh this was so compelling of a story, but in places so damn tragic.... The characters were such interesting people, yet many despicable and ugly....

Mr. Hancock's ship's Captain, returns after 4 years without his ship, but with a dead mermaid. The Mermaid causes quite a stir in society and Mr Hancock agrees to rent it to a Madame who runs a high quality house.

Mr Hancock is invited to the opening night of the viewing, where he meets Mrs Angelica Neal, a much sought after courtesan, but leave in the lurch as the onset of the orgy is not to his liking; but the thought of Mrs Neal stays with him long afterwards.

Mrs Neal forgoes Mr Hancock for a young society stud with whom she has foolishly fallen in love. When Mr Hancock calls on her she tells him she will consider him if only he brings her another mermaid.... and so, Mr Hancock sends his Captain out on a new ship to find another mermaid...

From there the story descends into tragedy, but Mrs Hancock, not being one to lay down & quit perseveres. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | May 23, 2021 |
I'm so muddled on my opinions for this book but after a lot of thought, I settled on this: 3.75 stars.

The write was astounding. I have no problems in seeing why it was chosen to be short-listed for the Women's Fiction Prize. The writing was spectacular and engaging and so drool-worthy, it was even good enough to distract me from the dragging, slightly boring plot and the fact that I did not feel much for the characters. While the mermaid, or lack thereof, enticed me to continue, it was really all that kept me reading. I wasn't engaged in the characters' lives or really cared what happened to them, but I couldn't hate the boo either because it was so well written. It outshone any sort of drag. It wasn't a bad book, in fact, I quite enjoyed it, but the lack of plot and relatable/likable characters is what is preventing this from being a 5-star read. ( )
  afrozenbookparadise | Apr 22, 2021 |

3.5*

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar’s assured debut novel, is set in Georgian London and its environs. Its plot centres around two protagonists and the worlds they inhabit –so distant despite being geographically close. On the one hand there is merchant and businessman Joshua Hancock, a rather dull widower who rarely strays away from his home and his office, despite the fact that his ships sail the seven seas. On the other hand there is young courtesan Angelica Neal, one of the finest ‘graduands’ of Mrs Chappell’s famous ‘nunnery’ and a favourite amongst high-class clients. The novel tells their story and how a mermaid will join their destinies. As the book progresses, we also realise that the worlds of merchant and courtesan might not be as different as may appear and unlikely parallels start to surface.

Let’s get some clarifications out of the way. This book is not primarily about mermaids, although it deals with more than one of them (both literally and figuratively). Moreover, although it does have a fantastical element to it, it is a “supernatural novel” only in a half-hearted way. In this regard, it reminded me somewhat of Eleanor Catton’s Booker-Prize-winning [b:The Luminaries|17333230|The Luminaries|Eleanor Catton|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1410524246s/17333230.jpg|24064531], which also relied on otherwordly elements in the plot without actually feeling like a work of “supernatural fiction”. To be fair, this is not the only quality which put me in mind of “The Luminaries” and there are a number of positive elements which “The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock” shares not just with that book, but also with other great works of historical fiction. In particular, I was struck by the effect of “total immersion” which the book gives the reader. The historical context is evidently well researched and conveyed in the greatest of detail. There are lengthy descriptions which brilliantly evoke the atmosphere of 18th Century London, with its sights, sounds and smells. The author also gets the hang of the style of novels of the epoch, such that both the narration and the dialogue feel convincing and authentic. The various secondary characters are also drawn in significant detail with their backstories deftly dovetailed into the main storyline.

Whilst appreciating the evident quality of the book I found it rather difficult to actually love the novel. At times I felt as if the main elements of the plot were not remarkable enough to justify the length of the book and some of the scenes (I’m thinking for instance of several paragraphs describing Mrs Chappell clumsy attempts at using a chamber-pot in a carriage) could have been excised without losing the thrust of the novel. Another issue I had was with some of the characters (including the protagonists) who seem to make decisions decidedly at odds with what the reader is led to expect from them.

That said, this looks set to be one of the remarkable debuts of the coming months, and deservedly so. I certainly look forward to more from this author.
( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
‘’Somewhere a tide is turning. In that place where no land can be seen, where horizon to horizon is spanned by shifting twinkling faithless water, a wave humps it back and turns over with a sigh, and sends its salted whispering to Mr Hancock’s ear.’’

London, 1785. Swiftly, we are let in two very different worlds that are about to be united under extraordinary circumstances. Mr Hancock, a moderately wealthy merchant, has acquired a marvellous creature. Angelica Neal is an accomplished courtesan that has come to admire his new possession. And what may that be? Well, a mermaid! And now, they are thrown into a series of dubious choices, chances and hopes in the opulent city and the peaceful countryside.

‘’We fill their minds even when we are far away. They fancy they see us even when they do not. They tell one another stories about us.’’

Imogen Hermes Gowar creates a very special example of Historical Fiction. Beyond the magnificent depiction of 18th century London, beyond our vivid transportation to the world of the courtesans and the merchants, two professions that seem to look for wonders, taking every chance that comes their way, beyond the need for love, she connects the elusive legendary figure of the Mermaid to the ‘’icon’’ of the beautiful, desired women. Both are sought after, tirelessly wanted. Once someone is fortunate enough to ‘’possess’’ them - literally, mind you - they become creatures to be put in a cage for profit. The Mermaid brings money. The Woman brings earthly pleasure but must ‘’belong’’ to one man only. Even if he is a scoundrel and a liar.

‘’A loss is not a void.’’

Imogen Hermes Gowar populates her beautiful story with fascinating characters. Good and bad, most of them grey. Real, tangible, easy to identify in all societies. But the main duo is a true force. Angelica’s spirit seems to mirror Hancock’s calm and need for a life with meaning. Her unafraid attitude to stand for herself against men and women who want to exploit and diminish her reflects his decision to abandon his microcosm and see all anew. They both make mistakes - who doesn’t? - and learn from them under the ever-watchful eye of the Mermaid.

The element of Magical Realism is cleverly and uniquely used to advance the story, walking side-by-side with very human, very familiar emotions and obstacles. And this is how an extraordinary novel is born.

‘’I am here; I am here; you are not alone. Here I am; I am grief, the living child of your suffering. I am the grief that sits within you; I am the grief that sits between you.
You will bury me but I shall rise up.
You will not know me, but I shall make myself known to you.’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Oct 15, 2020 |
Viser 1-5 af 35 (næste | vis alle)
Roll up, roll up, a true wonder is on display: a mermaid magicked out of words. The author of this debut set in Georgian London gulled me, by the zest of her writing and sustained authorial sleight of hand, into forgetting for a second that they do not exist..There are deep currents roiling here, but the book takes its time setting them in motion. On the whole, investment by the reader is amply repaid....There is much to chew on here, and much to savour, presented with wit and showmanship. Would that showmanship were a gender-neutral word, though, because all the elan of this book is female, from the madams running their girls, to the book’s most obvious literary forebear, Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus. Imogen Hermes Gowar delights in the feminine fakery of mermaids, but as a writer she is the real deal.
 

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Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction * A Refinery 29 Favorite Book of the Year * A Booklist Top 10 First Novels of the Year * A People Best Book of the Fall "Wonderful... completely transporting."  --Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Circe and The Song of Achilles In 1780s London, a prosperous merchant finds his quiet life upended when he unexpectedly receives a most unusual creature--and meets a most extraordinary woman--in this much-lauded, atmospheric debut that examines our capacity for wonder, obsession, and desire with all the magnetism, originality, and literary magic of The Essex Serpent. One September evening in 1785, Jonah Hancock hears an urgent knocking on his front door near the docks of London. The captain of one of Jonah's trading vessels is waiting eagerly on the front step, bearing shocking news. On a voyage to the Far East, he sold the Jonah's ship for something rare and far more precious: a mermaid. Jonah is stunned--the object the captain presents him is brown and wizened, as small as an infant, with vicious teeth and claws, and a torso that ends in the tail of a fish. It is also dead. As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlors and brothels, all of London is curious to see this marvel in Jonah Hancock's possession. Thrust from his ordinary existence, somber Jonah finds himself moving from the city's seedy underbelly to the finest drawing rooms of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of the coquettish Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on--and a shrewd courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting sparks a perilous liaison that steers both their lives onto a dangerous new course as they come to realize that priceless things often come at the greatest cost. Imogen Hermes Gowar, Britain's most-heralded new literary talent, makes her debut with this spellbinding novel of a merchant, a mermaid, and a madam--an unforgettable confection that explores obsession, wonder, and the deepest desires of the heart with bawdy wit, intrigue, and a touch of magic.

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