Samantha Ellis

The song of the sirens

Sophia Kingshill’s complex cultural history includes sirens, selkies and some freakshow mermaid lookalikes

The first mermaid we meet in this intriguing, gorgeously produced book is spray-painted in scarlet on a wall in Madrid, holding a heart not a mirror. Not your average mermaid, then; but as the folklorist and playwright Sophia Kingshill delves further into their complex cultural history, it becomes clear there’s no such thing.

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