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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Confessions of a Pagan Nun


Confessions of a Pagan Nun Cover

ISBN13: 9781570627194
ISBN10: 1570627193
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This moving and subtle tale both embodies and confirms the enduring power of language. Gwynneve (Gwi-NEEV) is raised in a village of fishermen and pigkeepers at the height of Ireland's transition from Paganism to Christianity. All around her the new doctrines of Patrick and the tonsured men are inexorably driving out the old Druid ways. When Gwynneve loses the two figures she loved the most--her mother succumbing to disease, her outspoken Druid teacher abducted by his enemies--she leaves her village and finally takes refuge in the convent of Saint Brigit. Of her past life and loves she retains only intangibles: her mother's love of nature and independent mind, her teacher's gift of literacy and addiction to truth. Clinging to the one constant and comforting force in her life--the power of words, and their offer of immortality to those who set them down--she records her memories surreptitiously, interrupting her assigned tasks of transcribing Patrick and Augustine. But disturbing events from the present keep intervening. Finally, her headstrong ways and growing criticism of the monastery's new abbot lead to the accusation that she consorts with demons. The story's tragic conclusion confirms both Gwynneve's fears and her powers: centuries after she and her tormentors sink back into the Irish earth, her words remain to haunt and inspire us.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Gold Gato, May 5, 2014 (view all comments by Gold Gato)
Kate Horsley uses the journey of language to create a tale of Druids, the coming of Christianity, and the loss of nature/innocence in this historical fiction read (sixth-century Ireland). It is a time of transition, as the Druids give way to the worship of Saint Patrick and Saint Brigit. Towards the end, we see the monastic movement take over, as male abbots use control to eliminate female pagans.

I enjoyed this book, perhaps because I had little intel on Druids and especially Pelagians (the libertarians of their time). Changed my Augustinian views a bit. If the author were more strident this would have been a soapbox slog, but instead it was a fey re-telling of perhaps the most important period in Irish history, as the island embraced its first Christian King. There are also highlighted Gaelic words plus a glossary of the definitions at the end.

Book Season = Winter (in Ireland, the gods still whisper on your shoulders)
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Meg , August 8, 2007 (view all comments by Meg )
Kate Horsley has given us another powerful and well crafted reality tale evoking the highest and lowest in human nature. The characters are recognizable and her story conjures emotions we may have been only dimly aware of.
This is a wonderful read.
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Horsley, Kate
Shambhala Publications
Boston, Mass.
Historical - General
Historical fiction
Religious - Historical
Druids and druidism
Women, Celtic
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references.
Series Volume:
no. 43
Publication Date:
208 p.
7.58x5.34x.86 in. .72 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

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