A short, but mesmerizing story that is actually a prequel to The Book of Speculation. I was absolutely hooked from the first sentence.
The story is a love story between Daniel and Paulina, the parents of the narrator of The Book of Speculation. He fell in love with the mermaid from a travelling circus and fears she will leave. "The problem with marrying the mermaid girl from the carnival was knowing that one day she'd swim away."
There is an inherent doomed aspect to the relationship. Even though she was a circus mermaid and not a real one, it is as though she is just as restless as if she was once a real mermaid and is being called back to the ocean.
The love story between the two is so sad, he yearns for her, and she yearns for something else. Freedom? Her past life? Swyler brilliantly pens the fragile nature of their relationship and leaves the reader breathless and yearning for more.