The Sea Lady: 07/16/18
The Sea Lady by Margaret Drabble opens with a woman in a sequined dress presenting an award for research on fish. It's some epic talent of hers or cosmic alignment or whatever that makes her appear to be a mermaid in a gown when the award could have gone to any number of other scientific discoveries.
From there the story slowly unfolds to be a mixture of reminiscences of childhood friendships, thoughts on the what-ifs of life and the desire to reconnect with those old friends. Ailsa, now a gender studies expert (though nothing of that informed research seemed to actually make it into the book or Ailsa's character) is now on her way home.
Meanwhile, Humphrey — the fish expert — is also headed home. He's more practical, I guess, and opts for the train. Or maybe that's frumpy? Mind you, all of this takes place in the UK. The UK just isn't big enough to need to fly from place to place unless you're island hopping. But I digress.
All in all this is a very quiet book. You have to be in the right mood for it. If you'd like an American book with a similar emotional impact, I recommend Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins (2017).