The Pisces

The Pisces

by Melissa Broder


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“Bold, virtuosic, addictive, erotic – there is nothing like The Pisces. I have no idea how Broder does it, but I loved every dark and sublime page of it.” —Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter 

Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika's home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound's easy affection.
Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, THE PISCES is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524761554
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 397,087
Product dimensions: 5.77(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Melissa Broder is the author of the essay collection So Sad Today and four poetry collections, including Last Sext. Her poetry has appeared in POETRY, The Iowa Review, Tin House, Guernica, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. She writes the "So Sad Today" column at Vice, the astrology column for Lenny Letter, and the "Beauty and Death" column on She lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Excerpted from "The Pisces"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Melissa Broder.
Excerpted by permission of Crown/Archetype.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

The Pisces Reading Group Guide

1. Early on, Lucy’s reliance on hope manifests in an affinity for crystals, psychics, and other spiritual entities. How does this evolve throughout the book?

2. Why do you think Lucy overdosed? Was she trying to hurt herself?

3. What does Lucy’s uncertainty about her thesis reveal about her? Do you think finishing it would offer her a sense of closure?

4. After joining a therapy group, Lucy jokingly thinks that the meaning of loving yourself is being repellant to others. Do you agree with her? How do she and the other group members exhibit their self-love?

5. Did you find Lucy’s desire for closeness and fulfillment relatable? Are these feelings normal?

6. When Theo reveals that he is a merman, he assures Lucy that “you aren’t hallucinating . . . in a way you were hallucinating before you met me in the sense that there was only one part of life you could see” (p. 139). What part of life did Lucy see before understanding who and what Theo is, and what part of life does she see after?

7. Lucy wonders if it is possible to be used while using someone. Who is she using, and who is using her?

8. What does Theo symbolize within the context of Lucy’s life? Do you think there is a particular reason he entered her life when he did?

9. Do you think Lucy learns anything from her brief encounters with Adam, Garrett, and Chase?

10. Of the members of her therapy group, Lucy feels most connected to Diana and Claire. Are these friendships helpful or harmful?

11. Do you think the support group has helped Lucy? What do Dr. Jude and its members teach her about herself?

12. Why do you think Jamie tries to reconnect with Lucy? Does she have any remaining feelings for him?

13. Lucy describes many types of love: a feeling of sisterly love felt between her and her sister, Diana, and Claire, a pure form of love between herself and Dominic, and the love she shares with Theo. How do these different types of love and relationships compare? Which type of love is most present in her life, and which is most important?

14. Lucy hypothesizes that “the only way to maybe have satisfaction would be to accept the nothingness and try not to put anyone else in it” (p. 104). Is it possible for her to accept the empty spaces in her life without attempting to fill them?

15. Why do you think Annika is so invested in Dominic? What does her reaction to his death say about her relationship with Lucy?

16. Do you believe that Theo is really what and who he claims to be? Do any of his actions indicate otherwise?

17. Ultimately, Lucy decides to return to her sister’s home rather than living with Theo or returning to Phoenix. Do you think this was the right decision?

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