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The Sealwoman's Gift

Durée : 9 h et 51 min
Catégories : Anglais - Fiction, Historical

Prix : 22,48 €

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Description

In 1627 Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted some 400 of its people, including 250 from a tiny island off the mainland. Among the captives sold into slavery in Algiers were the island pastor, his wife and their three children. Although the raid itself is well documented, little is known about what happened to the women and children afterwards. It was a time when women everywhere were largely silent. 

In this brilliant reimagining, Sally Magnusson gives a voice to Ásta, the pastor's wife. Enslaved in an alien Arab culture Ásta meets the loss of both her freedom and her children with the one thing she has brought from home: the stories in her head. Steeped in the sagas and folk tales of her northern homeland, she finds herself experiencing not just the separations and agonies of captivity, but the reassessments that come in any age when intelligent eyes are opened to other lives, other cultures and other kinds of loving.

The Sealwoman's Gift is about the eternal power of story telling to help us survive. The novel is full of stories - Icelandic ones told to fend off a slave-owner's advances, Arabian ones to help an old man die. And there are others, too: the stories we tell ourselves to protect our minds from what cannot otherwise be borne, the stories we need to make us happy.

©2018 Sally Magnusson (P)2018 John Murray Press

Critiques

"A remarkable feat of imagination...I enjoyed and admired it in equal measure." (Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent)

"An extraordinarily immersive read, that emphasises the power of stories, examining themes of motherhood, identity, exile and freedom...a journey that not only crosses continents, but encompasses tragedy and rich sensuality." (Guardian)

"A powerful tale of Barbary pirates...richly imagined." (Sunday Times

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cathy L.
  • 04/03/2018

Beautifully written, compelling storytelling

Would you listen to The Sealwoman's Gift again? Why?

I went right back to the beginning when it was over. Poetic writing. Heart-wrenching story where the spirit of kindness prevails. Thought provoking exploration of religion, slavery and human relationships. Historical fiction at its best.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Cariola
  • 07/06/2018

Interesting at first--but I got bored.

This novel is based on a true event when, in the mid-17th century, a Turkish fleet flying under Danish flags raids the small Icelandic island community of Heimat, slaughtering many of the inhabitants but also pirating others away to be sold as slaves. The main character, Asta, is the pregnant second wife of Olafur, a much older priest. Asta gives birth to her youngest child, Jon, during the journey to Algiers. There, the family is split apart, and Asta spends nearly ten years as slave to a Muslim master. During this time, she struggles to hold on to her Christian faith and to reunite with her children and friends. She finds solace in the Icelandic sagas that she loves and also uses them to entertain her master. When Asta learns that her husband (who she had presumed was dead) has finally persuaded the Danish king to ransom the some of the captives, she faces a decision that will be devastating, no matter what choice she makes. She is forced to reassess her life, her priorities, and her values.

Although I enjoyed the novel, I felt that it got bogged down at times, especially when it broke out in romance. Magnusson certainly has done her research and gives insights into the reality of life for Muslim women in the time period: near the end, one character even observes how odd it seems that these women, who had suffered terrible fates as slaves, came home not broken but standing taller and stronger.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian Storrar
  • 14/04/2018

A saga for the ages

Sally has spun a marvelously moving tale. It’s a story of women - and a woman, Áste - trying to survive, hold on to family and their own identities in a man’s world, no matter where in the world. It could be a story of 2018, as well as 1628. Katherine narrates the audiobook beautifully, lifting the words off the page in the oral tradition of Áste and Scheherazade.