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When Mermaids Sing
     

 

 
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When Mermaids Sing
By: Mark Zvonkovic
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
Publication Date: September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4401-6717-1 (sc)

World of Fiction, TheDeppening.com
Mark Zvonkovic’s When Mermaids Sing is an interesting look at a time when the world was changing on an almost daily basis. As most of the story takes place within the ivy halls of America, we get to see some of these changes discussed or at least displayed. And a few characters illustrate the dangerous depths to which such ideas can bring a person. Choosing a self-centered character as narrator may turn some readers off, but Zvonkovic’s choice is actually quite brilliant: who better to study the great challenges represented by such a rapidly changing America.

If you enjoy literary experiments or interesting character studies, When Mermaids Sing is a book you should enjoy.

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INTERVIEW: featheredquill.blogspot.com

FQ: What inspired you to write about the issue of cults during this era?

MZ: I did have a friend who experimented with cults, but not nearly to the extent as Bradley. Actually, I learned most of what is in the novel about cults much later, after I first started writing the novel in 1993 or 1994. I actually needed something that could develop the characters in the novel and the struggle with ideals. I thought about having Bradley being a returning soldier from Vietnam, but after some research decided that the cult experience from those years, particularly the real life dramas being played out in the news concerning Black Lightning, was a better platform.

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ENID GRABINER, RebeccasReads.com

Much of this book revolves around Larry's childhood memories of summers with cousins on Cape Cod and commentary on his current state of affairs. Although the prose is beautifully written and the literary references fascinating, they were initially a distraction as they interjected the dialogue, disrupting the flow of the story. As the book progressed however, the action and dialogue melded well with the aside remarks. Plot, character development, and issues of the time period make "When Mermaids Sing" a great book club selection.

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PAMELA VICTOR, Feathered Quill Book Reviews
Review Date: December 31, 2009

On the surface, When Mermaids Sing is a novel about a young man’s efforts to free his cousin from an insidious religious cult on Cape Cod during the early 1970’s. But dive deeper to discover this novel to be a coming-of-age story about the protagonist, 26-year-old Larry Brown, a highly cerebral, fairly innocent, heart-on-his-sleeve romantic during the first major personal challenge of his life. As Larry goes to great measures to extricate his cousin from the cult, the author prompts readers to question their own belief systems. What is free will? What constitutes legitimate religion? What is brainwashing and how does it differ from religious belief? And finally, the good ol’ What is the meaning of life? The way the author presents these various debates without pushing a particular argument would make When Mermaids Sing a very good selection for a book club and a satisfying read on one’s own.

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MALCOLM R. CAMPBELL, POD Book Reviews & More

"The title of Zvonkovic’s carefully written novel is suggested by a line from John Donne’s playful “Go and Catch A Falling Star.” Catching falling stars and hearing mermaids singing are, in Donne’s thinking, rather unlikely events. Readers of “When Mermaids Sing” may wonder whether substantive change in Larry Brown is also unlikely. As literary fiction, the story relies heavily on theme, interior monologue and a strong sense of place rather than non-stop action on its introspective journey to a powerful conclusion.”

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ERIC JONES, BookReview.com

“‘When Mermaids Sing’ is, at its heart, about dealing with life after losing the innocence of early adulthood. Mark Zvonkovic’s stunning debut speaks to the grown Holden Caulfield in all of us. That deep part of us that hopes for something more, but still chokes down what is.”

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G. A. BIXLER, Book Reader’s Heaven

“Prepare to sit back and enjoy the beautifully written literary fiction of Mark Zvonkovic in When Mermaids Sing. When a former English teacher also has the creative genius to tell stories, it results in a pleasurable read, no matter the topic. In Zvonkovic’s case, his first novel takes us back to the 70's when there were many, many religious cults which aggressively recruited young people, often resulting in a complete break of teens from their families.”

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BOB SPEAR, Heartland Reviews

"The end crashes upon the reader like the incoming tide, overwhelming us with unusual twists, surprises, and clever emotional manipulations. One minute we’re cheering the rescuers on and the next we are asking, “Will Larry ever wise up?” When he finally does, he clears the deck for a new life like a wave washing over a ship’s prow. We rated this erudite first novel a high four hearts."

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  about the novel   about the author   book reviews   reader responses   press   dicussion guide   contact us   purchase: Purchase on Amazon.com!   Purchase on BarnesandNoble.com!   Purchase at iUniverse.com!