St. Martin's Press
On Sale: June 23, 2015
Hardcover / e-Book
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Paperback (reprint - June 2016)
Fiction Women's Fiction
Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that
is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His
parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made
her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water
his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six
years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival.
One June day, an old book arrives on Simon's doorstep, sent
by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on
speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log
from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who
reports strange and magical things, including the drowning
death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of
"mermaids" in Simon's family have drowned--always on July
24, which is only weeks away.
As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes
increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a
curse on Simon's family? What does it have to do with the
book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to
In the tradition of Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, Erin
Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and Elizabeth Kostova's The
Historian, The Book of Speculation--with two-color
illustrations by the author--is Erika Swyler's moving debut
novel about the power of books, family, and magic.
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