“Charged, atmospheric, thought-provoking and bleakly skewed”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
I picked The Merman up not really knowing what to expect. It’s the English translation of Carl-Johan Vallgren’s Havsmannen and for that part it reads very well. I’m always cautious with translations that something might be lost, but I loved this tale of hardship, magic, and loss.
Nella is a 15-year-old girl and the story starts with her and her younger brother Robert. It’s clear from the start the children are set apart from their peers; they have no money, they wear old clothes, and the other children tell them they smell. The pair are bullied horrendously at school and it makes for uneasy, if realistic reading.