The Financial Times: "Martinezs lay characters the pitchfork-clutching crowds, whispering ghosts and promiscuous fairies are straight out of Perraults tales."
Date: Mar 4 2014
In 1187, 15-year-old Esclarmonde refuses to marry, choosing instead the life of an anchorite. Chapel walls are built around her and she bears a child. As the baby demands the maturity of a woman, Esclarmonde changes and eventually comes to regret her teenage desire to be a saint. But it is too late – during her internment no one in the community has died and it now depends on her prayers.
After a quiet publication, Carole Martinez’s first novel won many prizes in France as a result of booksellers’ recommendations, and this second book is heading the same way. Word-of-mouth is an appropriate theme: Martinez’s lay characters – the pitchfork-clutching crowds, whispering ghosts and promiscuous fairies – are straight out of Perrault’s tales (Bluebeard especially).
Whether English-language readers will show the same enthusiasm for this mix depends on Howard Curtis’s translation, which lacks some of the colour and lyricism of the original.