Hafan Llyfrau Basged Man Talu Fy Nghyfrif Cymorth Cynigion Arbennig Cysylltu   English  
 
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Gwybodaeth Lyfryddol
Woman Who Loved an Octopus and Other Saints' Tales, The
Imogen Rhia Herrad
ISBN: 9781854114426 (1854114425)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Mai 2007
Cyhoeddwr: Seren, Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr
Darluniwyd gan Andy DarkFformat: Clawr Meddal, 210x136 mm, 150 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Ar gael Ein Pris: £6.99 
Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer i'r teitl hwn.
 
Ysgrifennwch Adolygiad Cwsmer
Llyfr Saesneg y Mis: Gorffennaf 2007
Casgliad o straeon byrion am seintiau benywaidd o'r oesoedd tywyll. Mae'r hanesion yn edrych ar y ffiniau sy'n bodoli rhwng chwedl, hanes, crefydd ac ofergoeliaeth, ac ar safle'r fenyw bryd hynny a nawr.

A collection of short stories about female saints from the dark ages. The stories explore the borderlines between myth and history, religion and superstition, and the position of women then and now.
Imogen Rhia Herrad is a freelance writer and journalist whose short stories and articles have appeared in various magazines and anthologies. The woman who loved an octopus is her first collection of twelve short stories, based on the lives and tales of Welsh saints. Some of the saints here are well-known, almost household names, in Wales – Non, Melangell, Winifred and Dwynwen; others, such as Annon, Collen and Indeg, are perhaps less familiar outside their local area.

Rather than simply retelling the original tales, Herrad uses them as inspiration for a series of very contemporary stories that contemplate themes and issues that are as significant now as they might have been in the fifth and sixth centuries when most of these saints were believed to have lived: rape, incest and violence and their effect on the human psyche; the precarious balancing of spiritual, physical and material needs; the challenge of cross-cultural and single-gender relationships; and women’s right to choose, whether this be their partners, their beliefs or their way of life.

Although each story is unique, Herrad’s use of the first-person narrator throughout gives the collection cohesion and consistency and provides the reader with a sense of experiencing life and events through the eyes and minds of the characters. This is sometimes unnerving, since Herrad has an uncanny ability to reach into the disturbed mind, effectively expressing and conveying mental states that range from the mildly traumatised to the deeply deranged. ‘Madryn’ and ‘Arganhell’, in particular, are acute observations of the way in which the human mind copes – or fails to cope – with emotional pain and trauma.

Some of the stories are stronger than others but, on the whole, this is an inspired and thought-provoking collection that invites the reader both to reconsider modern values and lifestyles and to reassess traditional views of some of Wales’s best-loved saints.

Suzy Ceulan Hughes

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Bywgraffiad Awdur:
Imogen Herrad is a German freelance broadcaster based in London and Berlin, who learned Welsh while living in Ceredigion. She has had short stories published in Wales and Canada.
Gwybodaeth Bellach:
'The Woman Who Loved an Octopus' is an inspired collection of stories, based on the lives and legends of thirteen Celtic women saints from the first millennium. The legends, some well-known, others almost forgotten, are told in a clear, assertive and memorable way. These stories are not historical tracts or faithful retellings: often Herrad selects elements of a myth as the framework within which to construct a new story, flooding the old with a fresh or rediscovered meaning.
Roughly half are set in the present, the rest in the saint's time, a mix that frees the narratives from anachronism by faithfulness to the spirit of the original.They revive an early world of saints often far from 'saintly' by current definitions. Nor are they archetypal, ranging from a 'God's strongest woman’ circus act to a Marian evangelist, teenagers leaving home, or girls escaping marriage, rape, death, self-harm, or the life of a nun.

Herrad intently and imaginatively explores the interface between the physical, sexual, spiritual and mystical, in ancient and modern worlds. Her saints, often in flight from persecution, closely inhabit the world of nature. And her retellings often reclaim women seen as victims and martyrs, as strong survivors – as indicated by their status as saints.
Her contemporary interpretations are hugely inventive. Some follow the original legends, as with Madrun, the daughter of King Gwyrtheryn, who apparently invited the Saxons into Britain to the Picts. This transmutes into a story of escape from an eastern European war zone. Others stories are more free: St Non was raped in legend and expelled form her convent for 'sexual incontinence'. She later founded convents, but in Herrad's version the 'victim' extracts a physical rather than spiritual revenge.
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