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The Fisher Queen {short story}

by Alyssa Wong

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 4 of 4
Powerful and affecting story. A fairytale allegory about the real-world horror of violence against women told through a horrifying weird-fiction lens. Strongly recommended. ( )
  michaeladams1979 | Oct 11, 2018 |
Lily and her sisters don't have a Mom. Their father says their mother was a mermaid and she left to go back to the sea. But that can't be because mermaids are fish, a delicacy, and she and her father are fishermen, human fishermen.

On a successful fishing trip the crew catches a mermaid that looks different from the others. She calls Lily "L¯uk¯s¯aw" (daughter), again and again. That night Lily can't sleep for thinking about the mermaid and because of the horrible whimpering noises the captured and bound mermaids are making. The noises they're making while they're being raped by the crew.

The most damning phrase in this story is spoken by her father: "It doesn’t hurt the meat." So what do you do if you are Lily? If your father says your mother is a mermaid, something to be fucked as long as it doesn't harm the meat to be eaten? You accept the wish the mermaid offers you and you go home.

This story is harsh, it's about women and men and rape and respect and all the horrors the world has to offer. And it's brilliant. ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
Lily is the oldest of three daughters of a Mekong delta fisherman, and as the oldest, at age fifteen, she's become an experienced fishing boat deckhand. Her mother is dead, died too young for even Lily to have any memory of her, but her dad tells a crazy story: the girls' mother was a mermaid.

Mermaids are fish. Unambiguously fish, not intelligent, not beautiful, only superficially human-looking. They are the most desirable fish to sell at the fish market, bringing the highest prices, especially the deep-sea varieties. It's a ridiculous story, obviously intended to avoid telling the girls their mother ran off and abandoned them.

And then comes the fateful fishing trip on which Lily encounters her first deep ocean mermaid, and the mermaid calls her "Daughter."

This is a gently and yet mercilessly written story, the revelations building slowly. We see the sisters' love for each other, Lily's protectiveness of her younger sisters. We experience Lily's surprise, then shock, then horror as, fifteen years old, she is increasingly treated as a near-adult and sees things previously shielded from her.

And we experience the terrible, difficult decision she makes.

Recommended. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
A feminist take on mermaid tales. ( )
  aulsmith | Jun 21, 2015 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alyssa Wongprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zarris-Heaney, MaeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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“The Fisher Queen” is set up in the fashion of traditional oral storytelling, where truth and myth blend together. However, it’s about the very real effects of societal, systematic violence against women.
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