The Mermaid Boy by John Summers (Hue & Cry Press, 2015), 158 pp., $30
The Mermaid Boy is a story collection that purports to be non-fiction but reads like fiction. John, a not very roguish young man, writes of youthful adventures in New Zealand and Asia. While he fitfully travels, he gradually matures. The 13 stories/sections/chapters assembled in roughly chronological order generate a kind of picaresque bildungsroman. The author as putative main character has a voice that is humble, sometimes hesitant, unwilling to go beyond what he knows. This is a book not of ego, but definitely of the first person.
It is not a memoir, yet one could piece from it elements of a conventional memoir; not a random selection of autobiographic essays because chronological and narrative threads are loosely tied up; not a meditation on the idea of stories – but almost. [Read more…]