The Sealwoman's Gift (Paperback)
  • The Sealwoman's Gift (Paperback)
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The Sealwoman's Gift (Paperback)

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£8.99
Paperback 384 Pages / Published: 14/06/2018
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Waterstones Says

Our Scottish Book of the Month for July. From the coastline of Iceland to the heat of Algiers; Magnusson delivers a moving debut of uprooted lives woven through with myth-making and storytelling.

Waterstones Scottish Book of the Month for July 2018

Chosen for the Zoe Ball Book Club 

'Icelandic history has been brought to extraordinary life. I was swept up in the story and the vivid plight of people taken away from everything they knew and understood. An accomplished and intelligent novel.' - Yrsa Sigurdardottir

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 Asta, the pastor's wife. Enslaved in an alien Arab culture Asta 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 storytelling 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.

Publisher: John Murray Press
ISBN: 9781473638983
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 268 g
Dimensions: 198 x 161 x 24 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Writes compellingly of the psychological and physical shocks of being uprooted. Impeccably researched, this is a poetic retelling of Icelandic history.' - The Daily Mail

'From the first, it leaps from the page... I enjoyed and admired it in equal measure' - Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent 

'Icelandic history has been brought to extraordinary life. I was swept up in the story and the vivid plight of people taken away from everything they knew and understood. An accomplished and intelligent novel.' - Yrsa Sigurdardottir

'Remarkably accomplished...The true story behind the novel is almost preposterously epic, yet she brings it to life by inhabiting the minds of her characters' - The Scotsman 

'A compelling read...While a historical novel, it also contains contemporary resonances, particularly in the way it examines how different people integrate into a society that is completely foreign to them' - The Bookseller 

'A lyrical tale full of the Icelandic stories that Asta tells her children and her kidnappers.' - Stylist 

'Compelling stuff' - Good Housekeeping

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“A brilliant debut....”

In 1627 Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and enslaved over 400 of its people. Based on this, we get to read the story of Asta , the pastor's wife. Her story is wonderful and beautifully imagined and... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 117

“A remarkable debut”

I was very fortunate to have met and even interviewed Magnus Magnusson back in the mid 1980’s and so when The Sealwoman’s Gift by the Broadcaster and Journalist Sally Mangnusson landed on my desk it brought so much... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 59

“An astonishing novel that will stay with me for a long time”

In 1627 a large group of Icelanders were brutally seized by pirates and taken on a voyage to Algiers to be sold into slavery. Torn from their families, homes and country, this is the start of a deeply traumatising... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 52

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