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The Mermaid's Child

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

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Bibliographic note

This novel works through an experimental deployment of ancient narrative techniques. Traditions of written and oral storytelling, coupled with the problematic fictionality of 'travellers' tales' such as Mandeville's Travels, Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe, all inform Baker's central concern: namely, to tell a story that is asserted to be true but that is palpably fictitious. In doing so, The Mermaid's Child offers fresh insight into the nature of narrative and storytelling in the modern world. The unreliability of the first-person narrator is extremely important to the novel, for in allowing the gender of the narrator to shift according to the context of other characters' perceptions and demands (until, that is, the onset of pregnancy), Baker offers an original perspective on the nature of gender and sexuality, the effects of pregnancy on the female experience of self, and more widely on the constructed nature of identity. The novel is informed by extensive study of both historic travel literature and writing that deals with the mutability of gender. Further research was also undertaken into the slave trade, cross-dressing, seafaring, pregnancy, and rural traditions in North Lancashire. RAE_import_type : Authored book RAE_uoa_type : English Language and Literature