My Life As a Mermaid, and Other Stores
by Jen Grow
2015, Dzanc Books
216 Pages, $14.95
Heart beating in your ears, hidden away from the world, sinking until the cement bottom scrapes your knees. Then your arms rise up and you are flying, exploding into the sunlight. This sensation is as simple as the molecules of water that splash across Jen Grow’s words in her debut collection of stories, My Life as a Mermaid, winner of the the Dzanc Books Short Story Competition. Grow writes, “I love the thick silence water makes so sound can’t touch me…we were all muscle then and we could sink” (87). Water allows for escape—escape from the babbling of lovers that you don’t really love anymore, escape from failing to be like your perfect sister, escape from the mundane of squeaky carts at air-conditioned grocery stores.
However, Grow’s stories do not pretend to be…
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