The Woman Who Loved an Octopus: And Other Saints’ Tales by Imogen Rhia Herrad

The Woman Who Loved an Octopus: And Other Saints' TalesThe Woman Who Loved an Octopus: And Other Saints’ Tales by Imogen Rhia Herrad

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.

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