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The Sacrament: A Novel por Olaf Olafsson
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The Sacrament: A Novel (edição 2020)

por Olaf Olafsson (Autor)

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12412172,334 (3.91)27
The haunting, vivid story of a nun whose past returns to her in unexpected ways, all while investigating a mysterious death and a series of harrowing abuse claims A young nun is sent by the Vatican to investigate allegations of misconduct at a Catholic school in Iceland. During her time there, on a gray winter's day, a young student at the school watches the school's headmaster, Father August Franz, fall to his death from the church tower. Two decades later, the child--now a grown man, haunted by the past--calls the nun back to the scene of the crime. Seeking peace and calm in her twilight years at a convent in France, she has no choice to make a trip to Iceland again, a trip that brings her former visit, as well as her years as a young woman in Paris, powerfully and sometimes painfully to life. In Paris, she met an Icelandic girl who she has not seen since, but whose acquaintance changed her life, a relationship she relives all while reckoning with the mystery of August Franz's death and the abuses of power that may have brought it on. In The Sacrament, critically acclaimed novelist Olaf Olafsson looks deeply at the complexity of our past lives and selves; the faulty nature of memory; and the indelible mark left by the joys and traumas of youth. Affecting and beautifully observed, The Sacrament is both propulsively told and poignantly written--tinged with the tragedy of life's regrets but also moved by the possibilities of redemption, a new work from a novelist who consistently surprises and challenges.… (mais)
Membro:ArrupeLibrary
Título:The Sacrament: A Novel
Autores:Olaf Olafsson (Autor)
Informação:Ecco (2020), 304 pages
Colecções:First Floor Library
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The Sacrament por Olaf Olafsson

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Getting older, learning to live with the past, standing on the rocks of the walls you've crashed through and those you've tried to build, is a bear. You can't tell anyone younger what it means and anyone you know your own age not only knows but is busily trying to tidy the dust off their scratched, bloody feet.

When what you've seen, felt, done no longer matters to anyone but you...polite avowals of interest are never to be presumed upon...then Life can't take anything else from you and your fears just melt. Sad, isn't it, that the murder hornets whose wings only flap when they have a head of rage built up, never just...leave it. Their stings don't land; their rage grows. The worst has already happened, and a surprising number of people have learned from their own lives that the loud, angry buzz of Being Right heralds nothing but unpleasant tasting and smelling poison.

There is an amazing sweetness in indifference. Court it.

Favorite quotes:
The path to truth lies amid the long winding passageways of the soul, where fear and hope do battle with each other.
–and–
It is not difficult to show kindness to those we love, or even to strangers who might be in distress; it is easy to show relative consideration. The real test comes when we must forgive those who have done us harm, show love to our enemy. It is a test of our faith, our strength of mind.
–and–
I regret nothing. Was I talking to her or to myself—or to you, who watch over us without mercy, waiting for us to sin? Was I comforting myself or declaring war on you? Who knows? And nor should you, I said, and walked out. ( )
1 vote richardderus | Jan 26, 2021 |
Sister Johanna learned to speak Icelandic when she and Halla roomed together in school many years ago. About twenty years in ago, she made a trip to Iceland to investigate alleged abuse in the school. Two events marked that time. The parish priest fell from the bell tower during her visit, and she found a boy in a broom closet. In the present she goes back to Iceland to talk with a young man who wishes to speak specifically with her although she'd rather remain at her convent tending the her rose garden and minding her dog George Harrison. The story weaves between the time periods. It can be difficult to distinguish if one doesn't pay attention to the text breaks. The beautifully written text paints a poignant picture of the understated abuse and of reflection on an unpleasant time. Sister Johanna's struggles with sexuality emerge as a secondary theme in the book. ( )
  thornton37814 | May 3, 2020 |
Set in Iceland and Paris, Sister Johanna is sent back to Iceland to re-investigate a allegations of abuse that she had investigated 20 years earlier. The story moves through three different time periods that were sometimes confusing in audiobook format.
The story is classic Scandinavian noir which I quite enjoyed. ( )
  tangledthread | Apr 1, 2020 |
The Scarament. Olaf Olafsson. 2019. I rushed to read this because I was so taken with the Olafsson’s Restoration. What could I not like about a book that features a nun investigating a possible crime of abuse that is set in Iceland? It is told in flashbacks, and that is confusing at times as Sister Joanna’s memory blends with the present. It is beautifully written. The descriptions of winter in Iceland and the time Sister studied in Paris made me feel like I was there. The horrors of abuse are made even more horrible by the understated way they are described. I am not sure I agree with the resolution, but I have a better understanding of Sister’s motives. ( )
  judithrs | Mar 31, 2020 |
Now retired and tending roses at a rural convent in France, Sister Joanna Marie receives a request from her superiors that she go to Iceland and speak to a young man there who has specifically requested to speak to her. More than twenty years before, the church had received an anonymous letter from someone in the same parish which alleged abuse in the parish school, and Sister Joanna Marie, who speaks Icelandic, was sent there to quietly investigate the charges and report back. During that time she was there, a parish priest, the overseer of the school, fell to his death from a bell tower. The young man now in the present requesting to speak to her was a child she met during that delicate investigation.

In the present storyline the Sister is making her way to the airport and while in Paris she takes a walk around the Sorbonne indulging herself in mixed memories of her college years there in the late 1960s. It was her beloved roommate, who was Icelandic, who had taught her the language. A second storyline in the 1980s chronicles her trip to Iceland to investigate the allegations.

Iceland interests me and I was there in 2010 to satisfy my curiosity (reading about it turned out not to be enough). Tthe inner life of a nun is not something I would expect to be particularly interested in, but the idea of the Catholics in Iceland (and why not?) and the hint of mystery fascinated me. Narrated in the first person by Sister Joanna, the book is her story, her viewpoint, not only of a sensitive and difficult investigation, but of her life generally; the regrets, the choices made, the idea of redemption. The story, a strangely affecting mix of this personal reflection and mystery pulled me in from the first pages and very unexpectedly kept me in its grip until that last page was turned.

Note: The dog is named George Harrison, the car was named Jesus. ( )
2 vote avaland | Feb 23, 2020 |
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The haunting, vivid story of a nun whose past returns to her in unexpected ways, all while investigating a mysterious death and a series of harrowing abuse claims A young nun is sent by the Vatican to investigate allegations of misconduct at a Catholic school in Iceland. During her time there, on a gray winter's day, a young student at the school watches the school's headmaster, Father August Franz, fall to his death from the church tower. Two decades later, the child--now a grown man, haunted by the past--calls the nun back to the scene of the crime. Seeking peace and calm in her twilight years at a convent in France, she has no choice to make a trip to Iceland again, a trip that brings her former visit, as well as her years as a young woman in Paris, powerfully and sometimes painfully to life. In Paris, she met an Icelandic girl who she has not seen since, but whose acquaintance changed her life, a relationship she relives all while reckoning with the mystery of August Franz's death and the abuses of power that may have brought it on. In The Sacrament, critically acclaimed novelist Olaf Olafsson looks deeply at the complexity of our past lives and selves; the faulty nature of memory; and the indelible mark left by the joys and traumas of youth. Affecting and beautifully observed, The Sacrament is both propulsively told and poignantly written--tinged with the tragedy of life's regrets but also moved by the possibilities of redemption, a new work from a novelist who consistently surprises and challenges.

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