Mermaids in Paradise


Lydia Millet redefines “comedy of errors” in her genre-bending satire of a tropical honeymoon hijacked by mermaids, kidnappers, and mercenaries.

In this hilarious novel, a honeymooning couple makes friends with a marine biologist who discovers genuine mermaids in a coral reef — and who, the next night, apparently drowns in her hotel bathtub. As a resort chain swoops in to corner the market on mermaids, the newlyweds (opinionated, skeptical narrator Deb and handsome online gamer Chip, the world’s friendliest man) join forces with other vacationers — including an ex–Navy SEAL with a love of explosives and a hipster Tokyo VJ — to protect the mermaids from the corporate “Venture of Marvels” that wants to turn their habitat into a theme park.

Mermaids in Paradise tempers the sharp satire of Millet’s early career with the empathy and emotional power of her more recent, critically acclaimed novels and short stories. This is an unforgettable, mesmerizing tale, comic on the surface and deeply solemn at its core.



The producers behind IFC’s Portlandia have optioned Mermaids in Paradise. Writer-director Jonathan Krisel and writer Graham Wagner are reportedly adapting Mermaids for a feature film.



“Absurdity and paranoia permeate the latest novel from Millet … In an era of uncharted connectivity, Millet comically deflates clear-cut distinctions between truth, fiction, and moral high ground. With equal parts calculated wryness and pleading earnestness, she delivers a thrilling piece of fabulist fiction.” (Starred Review)
–Publishers Weekly

“An admirable example of a funny novel with a serious message that works swimmingly.” (Starred Review)
–Kirkus Review