The Changeling Sea (1988) is a small book with a rich large story in it. Peri lives her life by the sea, working at an inn cleaning on her hands and knees. The sea has taken her fisherman father in body, and has taken her mother in spirit. So Peri decides to curse the sea without believing her cursing will do anything. But it does in a most strange way.
Into Peri's life comes a prince yearning for a kingdom
under a waves, a sea dragon wanting to find friends, and a
wizard who will change her life. The book gently but surely
intertwines romance and magic and anger and human weakness.
There are no villains here, only the mistakes people make
and live with and their consequences.
McKillip's writing needs to be slowly savoured and digested.
Nuances will be missed by skimming through (I'm afraid I often
read too quickly!) There's a lot happening beneath the surface
of the writing as there is a lot happening beneath the sea
inside the story.
To some extent there is a dualism between sea and land in
the book. To some extent it isn't the sea which has bewitched
the characters, but the characters which have bewitched the
sea. So this variant of mythological tales about those who
visit kingdoms beneath the sea is not as simple as it may
seem. There are rich depths below the surface of "The