Official Review: Mermaids of Earth by Philip M. Jepsen

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ButterscotchCherrie
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Official Review: Mermaids of Earth by Philip M. Jepsen

Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 11 Jul 2018, 04:37

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Mermaids of Earth" by Philip M. Jepsen.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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As a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, Philip Jepsen grew up with the iconic Little Mermaid statue. After visiting a replica in his adopted country, the United States of America, he became curious about where other such statues might be found. His research revealed that there is a great variety of mermaid statues gracing rocks and fountains the world over. When he realized that there was no reference book or website about these, Philip resolved to compile the non-fiction work Mermaids of Earth: Mermaid Statues From All Across Our Planet.

Initially, he examines the origins of these creatures who are half-human, half-fish. Greek and Roman mythology provide many details about their genesis, but mermaids or sirens also appear in many other myths, including Celtic, Polynesian, and Native American. Like The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, these are often the tragic love stories of mermaids and humans. That's only one theme, though. Just as they can sometimes shape-shift, the mermaids of the world play a range of roles. Some protect cities and some rescue sailors, while others lure them to their doom. The bulk of the book catalogues the mermaid statues by continent, with cross-references to the Mermaids of Earth website. I liked the informative text accompanying the images, sometimes with translations into English of the poems and other inscriptions on the statues. It's fascinating that the statues stem from so many eras; today's are likely to bear messages about ocean conservation.

In itself, this coffee table book is as beautiful as the art it describes. Full-colour photographs of the statues are reproduced on high-quality, glossy pages; the colour and details are exquisite. I loved the variety of locations, tales, and tails. Why do so many peoples share this fascination with part-humans who inhabit a watery realm? With so much art in galleries or private collections, it's impressive that mermaid statues tend to be public art. I loved the way this book raised my awareness. I have been to some of the places featured but did not always notice the mermaids - Trafalgar Square in London, for example.

Trafalgar Square honours a victory and its mermaids are connected with the sea in that they commemorate Admirals. They include a baby mermaid spraying water; in general, the sculptures show a dynamic interplay with the element of water. This book is awe-inspiring in that it highlights the artists’ skill in depicting fluid motion in the sculptures. It was interesting to note that many of these gifted mermaid sculptors are women. I could only have named Barbara Hepworth as a female sculptor before reading this book, so it was gratifying to learn something new.

Given the excellent presentation of this delightful book, I am happy to award it 4 out of 4 stars. Errors were few and minor and I could not fault it in any way. I recommend this unique and distinctive work to anyone in the market for a coffee table book. It would make an excellent gift for anyone who is fascinated by mermaids or who generally loves sculpture, travel, mythology, or anthropology. It wouldn't appeal if you wouldn't be apt to buy a glossy art book. If you're at all interested in the mermaids of Earth, however, it's worth checking the website.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 12 Jul 2018, 01:35

I would never have thought about mermaid statues if it weren’t for this review. How interesting! It sounds like the author did a stellar job in combining the history and origin of mermaids to the whereabouts of the statues today.
Great review!
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Jul 2018, 02:59

Bianka Walter wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 01:35
I would never have thought about mermaid statues if it weren’t for this review. How interesting! It sounds like the author did a stellar job in combining the history and origin of mermaids to the whereabouts of the statues today.
Great review!
I know, it really makes you think and there's a lot to learn. Thanks for reading and responding!

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Post by Kimberly152001 » 12 Jul 2018, 09:06

It seems like the story behind each story or its context is thought well because it is practically very amazing to showcase something very unsual topic like this statue mermaids and their origin as well.

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Post by Morgan Jones » 12 Jul 2018, 10:18

Wow this sounds very interesting and I can't wait to grab my own copy. Thank you for the detailed and insightful review!
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Post by Bookwormgirl1 » 12 Jul 2018, 11:57

Thanks for the review. This book sounds really interesting. I think it would be great to see the different ways mermaids have been represented throughout the world.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Jul 2018, 12:00

Kimberly152001 wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 09:06
It seems like the story behind each story or its context is thought well because it is practically very amazing to showcase something very unsual topic like this statue mermaids and their origin as well.
Hi, yes, there is a lot of diverse information in the book. Welcome to the site!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Jul 2018, 12:01

Morgan Jones wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 10:18
Wow this sounds very interesting and I can't wait to grab my own copy. Thank you for the detailed and insightful review!
Thanks for your reply! Yes, if you want a coffee table book, this is unique.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Jul 2018, 12:02

Bookwormgirl1 wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 11:57
Thanks for the review. This book sounds really interesting. I think it would be great to see the different ways mermaids have been represented throughout the world.
There is a tremendous variety shown in the book. Thanks for reading and responding.

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Post by daydreaming reader » 12 Jul 2018, 12:23

This book sounds very educational. I love reading about different myths and the different origins are especially interesting. Looking at how these myths influence so many artists is intriguing. I think, however, that the most delightful thing about this would be the fact that the term mermaid is known by practically everyone, and the sculptures are perhaps observed by a lot of people (or may be not), but the stories behind the sculptures are known by few. Great review!
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Post by Lu_rire » 12 Jul 2018, 12:38

I thought it was sirens that lured men to their doom not mermaids? Though i suppose among so many legends there must be a few with negative representations of mermaids.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Jul 2018, 14:08

Lu_rire wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 12:38
I thought it was sirens that lured men to their doom not mermaids? Though i suppose among so many legends there must be a few with negative representations of mermaids.
Yes, the author goes into that. He mentions that the distinctions can get a little blurred but the Loreley, for example, is technically more of a water sprite. So, all creatures similar to mermaids are covered in the book! Thanks for your astute comment.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Jul 2018, 14:12

daydreaming reader wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 12:23
This book sounds very educational. I love reading about different myths and the different origins are especially interesting. Looking at how these myths influence so many artists is intriguing. I think, however, that the most delightful thing about this would be the fact that the term mermaid is known by practically everyone, and the sculptures are perhaps observed by a lot of people (or may be not), but the stories behind the sculptures are known by few. Great review!
Yes, I learnt a lot. There is a list of the words for "mermaid" in different languages at the beginning of the book; some of them are very interesting indeed. Thank you for your kind comment.

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Post by S Chinaski » 12 Jul 2018, 14:44

You have definitely piqued my interest!

I started reading your review and realized the book was about statues of mermaids; I couldn't help but wonder how that could be a whole book worth reading. lol

By the time I was done with your review, I was berating myself for judging a book by it's subtitle, and found myself digging the idea owning this book.

I enjoy history and anthropology as well as sci-fi and fantasy, and this book sounds like an interesting middle ground! Thanks for the review!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Jul 2018, 14:50

S Chinaski wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 14:44
You have definitely piqued my interest!

I started reading your review and realized the book was about statues of mermaids; I couldn't help but wonder how that could be a whole book worth reading. lol

By the time I was done with your review, I was berating myself for judging a book by it's subtitle, and found myself digging the idea owning this book.

I enjoy history and anthropology as well as sci-fi and fantasy, and this book sounds like an interesting middle ground! Thanks for the review!
You make a good point there - this book does somehow cover sci-fi and fantasy as well as history, geography and more. Of course, the pictures are pretty central given that this is a coffee table book, but the text conveys a lot. I am happy that I have it on my coffee table. Thanks for your response.

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