The ten stories of this collection include award finalists and honorable mentions in literary publications. Mermaids the opening story won the 2011 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Eight stories have been previously published and one of the two unpublished stories has been a finalist in a contest.
The dynamic mix of characters in these stories, know about sorrow. They know it in the burden of looking after a war-damaged husband and the son he never helps to raise. They know it in the struggle to hide away from violence in the world, even though violence will always find them. But they also know kindness, too. They know kindness in the unspoken understanding between a young man and his elderly aunt, or through the mystery of mermaids on a Delaware shore. And they know kindness by the small gestures between friends or through unexpected connections found after a summer rain.
In her poem “Kindness,” Naomi Shihab Nye writes that when you know sorrow as “the other deepest thing . . . then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore.” The stories in Mermaids & Other Stories reveal the power of small, but vital gestures in moments of human contact. Explored from childhood through old age, and without sentimentality, the collection provides a window into the kindness people seek and need in the face of loss.