My rating: 1 of 5 stars
According to the blurb on the back:
From the sensuous sea to flight from the world, [this book] is an inspired collection of twelve themed short stories, based on the lives and legends of thirteen Celtic women saints from the first millennium. […] This is not a book of historical tracts or faithful retellings: hugely inventive, Herrad’s stories flood old tales with fresh, or rediscovered meaning.
So far, so good.
I opened the book, looking forward to a rich experience of metachronical truths. I wasn’t expecting saint’s tales in modern dress or pious, moral fables. I was ready for something innovative that would express the inner nature of these extraordinary women in the language of today. I was looking for a golden thread connecting ancient and modern womanhood.
I was disappointed. In fact, I wasn’t able to bring myself to read all the stories. Maybe I’ll return to the book in the future with readjusted expectations, but for now – no, thank you. I found the writing disjointed, the imagery strained, and the apparent attempt at magical realism somewhat less than totally successful. Let’s leave it at that.
My recommendation: Not my cup of tea, but maybe it’s yours.