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Extended Audio Sample The Mermaids Singing Audiobook, by Lisa Carey Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,092 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lisa Carey Narrator: Jan Maxwell Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 1998 ISBN: 9780743541350
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There is an island off the west coast of Ireland called Inis Muruch—the Island of the Mermaids—a world where myth is more powerful than truth, where the sea sings with the healing and haunting voices of women, and where death is never as strong as the redemptive power of family and love. It is here that Lisa Carey sets her lyrical and sensual first novel, weaving together the voices and lives of three generations of Irish-American women.

Years ago, Cliona—strong, proud, and practical—sailed for Boston, determined to one day come home. But when the time came to return to Inis Muruch, her daughter Grace—fierce, beautiful, and brazenly sexual—resented her mother's isolated, unfamiliar world. Though entranced by the sea and its healing powers, Grace became desperate to escape the confines of the island, one day stealing away with her small daughter Grainne.

Now Grainne, motherless at fifteen after Grace's death from breast cancer—is about to be taken back across the ocean by Cliona, repeating the journey her mother was forced to make years before. She goes to meet a father she has never known, her heart pulled between a life where she no longer belongs to a family she cannot remember. On the rocky shores of Inis Muruch, she waits for her father, and begins to discover her own sexual indentity even as she struggles to understand the forces that have torn her family apart.

In her first novel, Lisa Carey has crafted voices so real and passionate that they resonate within the listener long after the last words are heard. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mingling myth and motherhood, and jumping generations and continents…Lisa Carey has created a magical first novel.” 

    Boston Globe

  • “You’ re sighing sympathetically before the end of the first chapter. Carey’s three heroines’…stories are skillfully woven together by the watery Celtic mythology of life on Inis Murúch.” 

    New York magazine

  • “Three generations of Irish women reconcile past and present in this ethereal debut.” 

    People

  • “A beautifully lyrical story of three powerful women.” 

    Redbook

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy | 2/15/2014

    " This is one of my favorite books. I love the juxtaposition of the three generations covered in the book, and the realistic portrayal of the tension between mother and daughter. Overall, the book was incredibly heartwarming, and I enjoyed the journey that Lisa Carey takes us through! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean | 2/6/2014

    " Went between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I liked the Irishness of it [lived there for a few years in the 80s] and I like Carey's writting prose & style. There was a lot of angst in it tho- I guess some lives really do have that much drama... A couple of times I wanted to smack the character for her nastiness toward her mother. I can't imagine saying some of those things to my own mom-- ever. But it was a good read, so I'll pass it on to my sisters [and thank sister Barb for giving it to me for my flight home last week]. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Laumark | 2/3/2014

    " This book drew me in with it's opening sentence. I enjoyed it's lyrical language, the story of the of 3 generations of women from the same family, the sensuality, & the struggles between Mothers & their Daughters. Most of all what I will take from this book is the definitions of home & family; how personal & different for every individual. I could almost hear the mermaids singing; calling me back to the home of my ancestors & I felt a deep longing for the shores of Innis Muruch... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilyn Hartl | 2/2/2014

    " A lovely book - I loved the language of this novel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Vicki | 1/24/2014

    " recommended by Sue Monk Kidd "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn | 1/18/2014

    " I see these characters in so many books and they are certainly the women of these past few generations. Catholic Mom-mom, rebellious Mom, confused me. Love the Irish stuff in this one, too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 1/15/2014

    " I'm not normally into books with Irish characters, but this one of three generations of women and their misunderstanding of one another really kept my interest. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin Sullivan | 1/11/2014

    " This book was great! I read it in college I think and I coulnd't put it down. It delves into generational relationships between women in the same family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 1/11/2014

    " A tale of 3 women of a small island in Ireland and all the men they loved. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ruth | 1/4/2014

    " 2.5 stars...a very low three. It was OK but not as good as most of the books I rate as a 3. I think the ending was just very lacking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Everitt | 12/19/2013

    " No matter what I did I just couldn't like this book. To me it was like each daughter couldn't stand being round her mother/grandmotehr so no one was getting along and no one was talking to each other. It did have a few nice moments that I enjoyed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Coleen Guhl | 12/9/2013

    " There was too much underage sex for me--and I am not a prude by any means! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lady Samantha | 12/7/2013

    " A moving tale and vividly written...great imagery. Tells the story of the love between mother and daughter--read it undergrad in my Irish-American Literature class...I remember crying at some parts--it's really a moving work of literature! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amber | 8/15/2013

    " This story is moving and beautifully written. The dynamic between generations is well portrayed and the emotions are relatable and striking. It's an all time favorite of mine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Hewitt | 2/19/2013

    " I remember this as a good read, made more memorable by the fact that it was the last book my grandmother passed along to me to read... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tynisha | 10/11/2012

    " this is a favorite book of mine "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Coleen | 6/5/2012

    " One of my favorite books - mother daughter issues, Ireland and love! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurie | 6/1/2012

    " I loved the author's writing style.But the characters are not very believable.If this had been a story about Cliona and Grainne instead of a story about them and Grace maybe there would have been more development and more insight into the motivation of their actions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mandy | 3/15/2012

    " Honestly, it's sort of typical of the genre. But I liked it, a lot. Enough to even name my cat after the grandmother. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 2/19/2012

    " Ahh, the many ways we can screw up our families. A favorite line from this book is when various characters state that wherever they are is not their home, the answer "it could be if you let it". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 2/13/2012

    " A beautiful story of mothers and daughters and how we all f**k each other up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 12/8/2011

    " It was generally an easy read, but enjoyable. I like getting the different points of view of the 3 generations of women in the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 11/27/2011

    " This book was actually much more enjoyable than I had originally expected. I found it really difficult to find sympathy for Grainne, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracie Simonton | 11/16/2011

    " This book was good! When i first picked it up, I thought well i will give it a try, but i found myself unable to put it down.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosie Soma | 10/23/2011

    " reads like a beautiful dream... i would love to be there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loran | 9/24/2011

    " I picked up this book to read on the airplane from SLC to Dallas and finished it just as we arrived. It is a very absorbing read, well written and lyrical. The mother-daughter relationships are very conflicted but that's often what makes a story interesting. I enjoyed reading it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amie Botha | 8/11/2011

    " I read this awhile ago. I think I enjoyed reading more about Ireland and living near the ocean in that lush country rather than the actual story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becca Adler | 7/11/2011

    " I love the way Lisa Carey writes in this book and brings her characters to life. I knew I was going to love this book even after a few pages. It was a nice change of pace after reading some not so great books. I'm looking forward to reading more from Lisa Carey! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 5/4/2011

    " A tale of 3 women of a small island in Ireland and all the men they loved. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 4/14/2011

    " Make it more like 3.5 stars. I'm a sucker for a good mother-daughter story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deidre | 12/27/2010

    " Read it for a book club back in the day. Maybe the only book our lil posse unanimously liked. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tynisha | 12/19/2010

    " this is a favorite book of mine "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mandy | 12/16/2010

    " Honestly, it's sort of typical of the genre. But I liked it, a lot. Enough to even name my cat after the grandmother. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 karen | 9/16/2010

    " There were parts of this book that were so well written - I could feel the "cold" of the family members and the coast of Ireland. I almost feel like I need to read it over to get more out of it (if that makes sense). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy | 8/2/2010

    " This is one of my favorite books. I love the juxtaposition of the three generations covered in the book, and the realistic portrayal of the tension between mother and daughter. Overall, the book was incredibly heartwarming, and I enjoyed the journey that Lisa Carey takes us through! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 6/17/2010

    " A very touching book about mother/daughter relationships and how they can be so misunderstood. I really liked the book and the setting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah | 5/10/2010

    " I picked this up in the bargain bin because of the gorgeous cover (probably 10 years ago now?) One of my favorite books. Beautiful story spanning three generations of women, set in Ireland and the US. "

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About the Author
Author Lisa Carey

Lisa Carey is the author of four novels, including the critically acclaimed The Mermaids Singing and Every Visible Thing, which won a Lambda Literary Award for Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine, with her family and returns to Ireland whenever she can.

About the Narrator

Jan Maxwell is an American stage and television actress. She made her Broadway debut in the musical City of Angels and has been nominated for two Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards. She won the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Her Broadway credits include Sixteen Wounded, Match, and The Dinner Party. She is the sister of Obie Award–winning playwright Richard Maxwell.