The Merman's Children

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An ambitious elaboration of the Danish legend echoed in Matthew Arnold's "The Forsaken Merman," here lavishly extended with history & other scaffoldings. Fleeing the ruined Jutish met-kingdom of Liri, the tribe of King Vanimen find their way to the coast of Dalmatia, already peopled with its own "uncanny beings." Meanwhile the king's half-human son & daughter, exploring westward in search of treasure & their lost people, encounter marvels ranging from the Great Selkie of Sule Skerry to the Inuit of Greenland. The leitmotiv of the narrative is the inevitable decline of Faerie as the Christian West swallows up the ways of the elder halfworld. For sheer, imaginative sweep, this is surely one of Anderson's most remarkable books, tho the writing often strays into purple commonplace & leaden sentimentality.--Kirkus

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