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Island of Wings por Karin Altenberg
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Island of Wings (original 2011; edição 2011)

por Karin Altenberg

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaDiscussões / Menções
2091897,565 (3.51)1 / 109
Lizzie is bright, cheerful and almost ethereal in her beauty, without having any knowledge of it herself. When she married Neil, a minister for the Church of Scotland, it was because of his looks, spirit and intent to do good. He wanted to take the most difficult job he could find. Setting out for St Kilda with a man she barely knew, pregnant with his child, she had no way of knowing if she was heading for adventure or disaster.… (mais)
Membro:MontysMum
Título:Island of Wings
Autores:Karin Altenberg
Informação:Quercus (2011), Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:historical fiction, Kindle, Scotland

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Island of Wings por Karin Altenberg (2011)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 18 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
The Orange Prize longlist always seems to have a few of these real-life-translated-to-novel books on it. The problem with them, I think, is that when one tries to directly translate real life to a novel, the narrative arc can't help but be messy and ultimately unsatisfying. (Unless you're Hilary Mantel.) So this is a well-written, interesting book with a messy and ultimately unsatisfying plot arc. I did like the main character, though, although I thought that the husband was unrealistically cold and harsh. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
The Orange Prize longlist always seems to have a few of these real-life-translated-to-novel books on it. The problem with them, I think, is that when one tries to directly translate real life to a novel, the narrative arc can't help but be messy and ultimately unsatisfying. (Unless you're Hilary Mantel.) So this is a well-written, interesting book with a messy and ultimately unsatisfying plot arc. I did like the main character, though, although I thought that the husband was unrealistically cold and harsh. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
"At last the firm ground of Hirta, our lost Eden!", 21 January 2016

This review is from: Island of Wings (Kindle Edition)
Based on a real-life Scottish minister and his wife who came to serve in the remote outpost of St Kilda in 1830, this is an eminently readable work, exposing the reader to the primitive conditions endured by the people on this tiny island, whose main source of food is seabirds. Their custom of ploughing bird carcasses into the soil as manure led to 60% neonatal deaths, while the difficulty of reaching the archipelago often meant deliveries of food were rare and the inhabitants nearly starved.
This is not an action novel: the reader imbibes the atmosphere, follows a difficult marriage and the personal struggle of the minister, determined to bring the word of God to a superstitious flock (but whose traditional lifestyle of working together for the common good, ironically enough, could teach the 'civilised' world something.)
I didn't feel I could somehow quite get into Lizzie, the long-suffering wife, as a real person, but the social history was so interesting that I enjoyed reading the book. ( )
  starbox | Jan 20, 2016 |
As a lover of historical fiction, I picked up this book based on the cover without really knowing much about it. What an interesting story of such a little known place as the St. Kilda islands. Having never even heard of them, I did a bit of Google research and found that the story was based on the life of a real minister and his wife. There are really two sides of this novel. First, the experiences of ministering to the native Scottish people living on a remote and barren archipelago provide the basic plot line. These people are taught the words of the Scripture and doctrine of the church but continue to understand much of the world through their own superstitions and pagan beliefs. Secondly, this is the story of a man and woman. They are young, enthusiastic, naive, and hopeful when they land on the islands. The reality of hardship, death, and sorrow soon shape their relationship into one of fear, distrust, and misunderstanding. It's an age old story of how the lack of being able to speak from the heart one to another causes so much sorrow.

This book is obviously well researched and I found the descriptions of the islands and the daily lives of those living there to be very interesting. At the same time, I found the tension between Rev. MacKenzie and his wife Lizzie to be very believable, tension wrapped up with sadness, tenderness, confusion, fear, anger, and love. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 22, 2013 |
I've spent several holidays on the Hebrides and have always found the story of St Kilda fascinating, so this book, set on the St Kilda of the mid- nineteenth century, seemed likely to appeal. The most isolated inhabited island of the British Isles, at least until 1930 when the remaining inhabitants requested to be resettled elsewhere, it was one where the task of eking out a living was incredibly difficult. Cut off from even the remote islands of the Outer Hebrides for a large part of every year, the inhabitants depended on the huge colonies of seabirds which nested on the islands, and on the tiny amount of arable land on which they could grow crops. And it was also an existence which was blighted by incredibly high infant mortality rates, with mothers routinely losing child after child within a week or so of birth.

Unfortunately, though, this story of the first minister of St Kilda, Neil MacKenzie and his wife Elizabeth, did not engage my attention as I expected. Island of Wings tells the story of their first arrival as a young married couple in 1830, to their eventual departure in 1843. The book does succeed in conveying the isolation of Elizabeth's position in particular, as an English speaking town bred woman from the Scottish mainland, but for me at no point did the characters or the narrative really come alive. The most interesting part of the book was learning about the social conditions of the St Kildans, which were extraordinarily basic even when compared with the Hebridean Islands which were their nearest neighbour. But I had already come across much of this information, and so not much of this was new. So while I would recommend this book to someone who is not familiar with the St Kildan story and is interested to learn more, I didn't find it particularly gripping apart from this. ( )
  SandDune | Aug 2, 2013 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 18 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
In her powerfully imagined debut, Karin Altenberg has delivered a post-colonial novel set not in Africa, Asia or Australia, but at the edge of the British Isle...Island of Wings pairs a portrait of a marriage under the extreme stress of social isolation, emotional distance and the death of infant children with a chronicle of the clash between the enlightened faith of the Church of Scotland and the rooted traditions of a Gaelic-speaking pagan place.
 
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Lizzie is bright, cheerful and almost ethereal in her beauty, without having any knowledge of it herself. When she married Neil, a minister for the Church of Scotland, it was because of his looks, spirit and intent to do good. He wanted to take the most difficult job he could find. Setting out for St Kilda with a man she barely knew, pregnant with his child, she had no way of knowing if she was heading for adventure or disaster.

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