Mermaid Mania | Nora Caplan-Bricker

When I told a friend I was writing this essay, she said she’d been hearing a lot about mermaids lately—that mermaids seem to be what vampires were a few years ago. Indeed, the re-release of The Seas follows a merman movie’s triumph at the Oscars—Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water—and the lauded debut of a merman novel, The Pisces by Melissa Broder. “People don’t have sex with sea creatures unless the world has failed them,” Jia Tolentino observed in her New Yorker review of that book. Maybe, in the bright light of so many revelations about how life on dry land fails women in particular, the allure of the aqueous love interest is on the rise.