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Cursed Bread: A Novel por Sophie Mackintosh
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Cursed Bread: A Novel (edição 2024)

por Sophie Mackintosh (Autor)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1185232,437 (3.4)25
"From the Man Booker-nominated author of The Water Cure comes an elegant and hypnotic new novel of obsession that centers on the real unsolved mystery of the 1951 mass poisoning of a French village. Still reeling in the aftermath of the deadliest war the world had ever seen, the small town of Pont-Saint-Esprit lost its mind. Some historians believe the mysterious illness and violent hallucinations were caused by spoiled bread; others claim it was the result of covert government testing on the local population. In that town lived a woman named Elodie. She was the baker's wife: a plain, unremarkable person who yearned to transcend her dull existence. So when a charismatic new couple arrived in town, the forceful ambassador and his sharp-toothed wife, Violet, Elodie was quickly drawn into their orbit. Thus began a dangerous game of cat and mouse - but who was the predator and on whom did they prey? Audacious and mesmerising, Cursed Bread is a fevered confession, an entry into memory's hall of mirrors, a fable of obsession and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh spins a darkly gleaming tale of a town gripped by hysteria, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes"--… (mais)
Membro:abidina
Título:Cursed Bread: A Novel
Autores:Sophie Mackintosh (Autor)
Informação:Vintage (2024), 208 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Cursed Bread por Sophie Mackintosh

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Mostrando 5 de 5
Atmospheric, evocative, and non-straightforward novel inspired by the "mass poisoning" that occurred in small French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit during the summer of 1951. No cause was ever discovered. In this telling it has something to do with the mysterious couple, an "ambassador" and his wife Violet, who arrive in town and fascinate everyone, most of all Elodie, wife of the local baker. Did this couple, bored with their sado-masochistic sexual games, manipulate and engineer the whole incident for their own amusement? Did the non-poisoned villagers exact revenge on them? Did Elodie commit murder? Who the hell knows? If this book had been longer I probably would not have finished it, but I kept at it hoping for clarity that never came. The writing is is very beautiful at times, but I did not care for the constant references to blood and decapitation, nor the strange shifts in point of view. ( )
  Octavia78 | Jan 4, 2024 |
Happy Publication Day(U.S.)!
April 4, 2023


“Pain becomes an animal, walking at your side. Pain becomes a home you can carry with you.”

A fictional take on the 1951 mass poisoning of the small French village of Pont Saint Esprit, Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh is an atmospheric, complex and hypotonic novel that reeled me in and kept me hooked till the very last page. The end will leave you a tad unsettled, but I guess that is the author’s intention. Stunning prose, flawed characters, and uneven structure create a claustrophobic yet gripping reading experience.

The story revolves around Elodie, presently widowed wife of a village baker who recounts the events leading up to a mass tragedy that occurred in her village. Elodie, the baker’s wife leads a monotonous life, selling bread, gossiping with the other village women while washing clothes and being ignored by her husband whose passion for baking was markedly more pronounced than his romantic interest in his wife. The arrival of a new couple, the affluent Ambassador and his wife Violet, create ripples in the village. Elodie is taken with Violet, and though initially, Violet ignores Elodie’s attempts at engaging her in conversation, Violet and the Ambassador befriend Elodie and her husband. The story is presented to us in flashbacks from the perspective of Elodie with an epistolary element in the form of letters she addresses to Violet interspersed throughout the narrative. The novel primarily revolves around the complicated dynamic between Elodie and Violet, or more precisely Elodie’s obsession with Violet – she oscillates between awe and envy and as the narrative progresses her sense of reality blurs. Much of this stems from her monotonous life and lack of physical intimacy with her husband. Violet’s motivations are initially unclear - she claims to be lonely, and shares intimate details of her relationship with the Ambassador alternating between treating Elodie like a confidante and at times being deliberately elusive creating an aura of mystery that confuses Elodie and further fuels her obsession, leaving her susceptible to both Violet’s and the Ambassador’s manipulations.

“I picture you sometimes as a set of Russian dolls, each layer revealing nothing except a tiny, weaker version of yourself, at the end only hollowness. You made yourself a character in your own story, at least as much as I made you a character in mine. Now it’s impossible to know what I was told and what I created.”

This is my first Sophie Mackintosh novel and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. Many thanks to author Sophie Mackintosh, Doubleday Books and NetGalley for the digital review copy of this novel.

“I think about how desire grows in the spaces around the known, where things are at their most and least real, where the terror of all the possibilities fracturing out through our lives is suspended, momentarily, so we can look them in the eye for once, and isn’t that what we are searching for when we debase ourselves for love, one moment of certainty in this strange and beautiful world.” ( )
  srms.reads | Sep 4, 2023 |
Let me begin by saying that I will, absolutely, read more from Sophie Mackintosh, because this writing was terrific. I loved the tension and sinister tone of the entire novel, and the very intimate nature of the storytelling. I even love that this was an imagination of the real life mass-poisoning of a small French town in 1951... However... and this is where it, ultimately, lost some stars. Was it too long? I mean, this would have been an incredible short story. Slightly more ambiguous, this might have been more impactful. OR... longer maybe, really dragging out the last third that felt a bit rushed. The pay off just didn't seem worth the build up. But I'm still glad I read it. ( )
  jo_lafaith | Aug 20, 2023 |
This is a book about obsession and centers on the real unsolved mystery of the 1951 mass poisoning of a French village.

Our story follows Elodie, the wife of the village baker. Elodie is bored with her simple life. She becomes taken with Violet, the fancy cultured wife of the Ambassador. They recently arrived in town and Elodie finds herself enraptured by them. As Elodie begins to recall the events leading up to the mass poisoning of the village, her reality begins to blur and her imagination takes hold.

This was a fever dream for me. It bounces around a lot. While I found the story very intriguing, keeping up with it was challenging as the storyteller's reflection was disjointed. It's erotic and strange, but I was invested in what was happening. ( )
1 vote Chef_Page_Mage | Apr 3, 2023 |
Mostrando 5 de 5
Set in postwar France, this sharp fable explores the power desire and envy exert over reality and memory... At their heart, her books are concerned with the politics of gender, the suffering those structures induce. But their male characters are too thinly and unforgivingly painted; there is no easy point of access for men to understand the women tortured, while for female readers the imaginative framework of The Water Cure and Blue Ticket seldom extends beyond blunt force trauma. Few of us need reminding of all the ways it is terrible to be a woman in the world. Cursed Bread presents a subtler rendering of how enough desperation behind the words “I want” can make one ill, and is all the more gripping for it. “What would ever be enough?” Elodie despairs midway through. “Perhaps my desire is always going to turn on me, snap at my hand even when I’ve fed it, twist it into new and unruly shapes.” In attending to these shapes, Mackintosh has entered a brilliant new stage of writing.
 
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"From the Man Booker-nominated author of The Water Cure comes an elegant and hypnotic new novel of obsession that centers on the real unsolved mystery of the 1951 mass poisoning of a French village. Still reeling in the aftermath of the deadliest war the world had ever seen, the small town of Pont-Saint-Esprit lost its mind. Some historians believe the mysterious illness and violent hallucinations were caused by spoiled bread; others claim it was the result of covert government testing on the local population. In that town lived a woman named Elodie. She was the baker's wife: a plain, unremarkable person who yearned to transcend her dull existence. So when a charismatic new couple arrived in town, the forceful ambassador and his sharp-toothed wife, Violet, Elodie was quickly drawn into their orbit. Thus began a dangerous game of cat and mouse - but who was the predator and on whom did they prey? Audacious and mesmerising, Cursed Bread is a fevered confession, an entry into memory's hall of mirrors, a fable of obsession and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh spins a darkly gleaming tale of a town gripped by hysteria, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes"--

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