The Sealwoman's Gift by Sally Magnusson

Into the Wild

The Sealwoman's Gift Read Online Free - 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 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.

Title : The Sealwoman's Gift
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 147363895X
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384 pages


Fiona rated it ★★★★★

February 17, 2018

The Scottish Icelandic Magnusson family are very well known in Scotland and the UK. Sally is a broadcaster and journalist, her father, Magnus Magnusson, was chair of Mastermind for many years and an expert on Iceland’s history and sagas. This isn’t Sally’s first book but it is her first novel. It...

Eric rated it ★★★★★

February 08, 2018

There’s something so wonderful about being wholly drawn into a richly imagined historical novel that both illuminates a somewhat forgotten or not-widely-known period of history and gives voice to people who are only glancingly referred to in the history books. Sally Magnusson does all this in her...

Steph rated it ★★★★★

November 22, 2017

This is a fictionalised account of a real-life historical event in the 1600s when hundreds of people in Iceland were killed by pirates or captured and taken as slaves. The story is told from the perspective of the wife of a priest from a small southern island. (As a disclaimer I should admit that...

Victoria rated it ★★★★☆

February 08, 2018

I have a thing for Iceland and a thing for pirates, so this surprisingly fluent and moving historical novel had me at hello. It opens in the spring of 1628 when nearly 400 Icelanders from the remote Western Isles are kidnapped by the renowned Algerine pirate Murat Reis. Dozens of others are murde...

Emma rated it ★★★★☆

February 12, 2018

First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Sealwoman’s Gift is an absolute gem of an historical novel, and evokes the atmosphere, struggles and joys of a bygone era with rare elegance and authenticity....

Helen rated it ★★★★☆

March 13, 2018

This is a beautiful, moving novel based on a little known historical event: the 1627 raid by Barbary pirates on Iceland’s Westman Islands. Around four hundred Icelanders were taken in captivity to Algiers to be sold at the slave markets, among them the priest Ólafur Egilsson, his pregnant wife Ás...

Rachel rated it ★★★★★

March 05, 2018

This is such a beautiful book about something that is so traumatic and heart-wrenching. It feels almost wrong to admit just how much I enjoyed reading The Sealwoman's Gift. But I did. I devoured every page and I couldn't put it down for the world. It was just that good.

Lorraine rated it ★★★★☆

February 12, 2018

Review by Lorraine Parker Knowing that the book is a combination of fact, folklore, historical fiction and almost mythology makes for an intriguing and mesmerizing read. A remarkable opening is set in 1627 with Asta, giving birth on the floorboards of a Barbary pirate vessel, surrounded by so many...

Thelastwordreview rated it ★★★★★

February 07, 2018

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 excitement to me. Old stories from Iceland are part of folklore and The Sealwoman’...

Eleanor rated it ★★★★★

January 25, 2018

The Sealwoman's Gift is an utterly brilliant book hampered by a fairly terrible title; you'd think, to look at it, that it's a kind of Celtic romance involving a dreamy, windswept woman who spends a lot of time gazing out to sea. It's actually based on an event that really happened: a Barbary pir...

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