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The Sealwoman's Gift - Sally Magnusson

The Sealwoman's Gift - Sally Magnusson

Title: The Sealwoman’s Gift

Author:  Sally Magnusson

ISBN:  9781473638952

Weight:  751g

Signed first edition, first printing



Sorry, sold out

Our price:  £16.99

The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson

In 1627 Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted some 400 of its people, including 250 from a tiny island off the mainland.  Among the captives sold into slavery in Algiers were the island pastor, his wife and their three children.  Although the raid itself is well documented, little is known about what happened to the women and children afterwards.  It was a time when women everywhere were largely silent.

In this brilliant reimagining, Sally Magnusson gives a voice to Ásta, the pastor’s wife.  Enslaved in an alien Arab culture Ásta meets the loss of both her freedom and her children with the one thing she has brought from home: the stories in her head.  Steeped in the sagas and folk tales of her northern homeland, she finds herself experiencing not just the separations and agonies of captivity, but the reassessments that come in any age when intelligent eyes are opened to other lives, other cultures and other kinds of loving.

The Sealwoman’s Gift is about the eternal power of storytelling to help us survive.  The novel is full of stories – Icelandic ones told to fend off a slave-owner’s advances, Arabian ones to help an old man die.  And there are others, too: the stories we tell ourselves to protect our minds from what cannot otherwise be borne, the stories we need to make us happy.

Peer & Press Reviews

From the first, it leaps from the page…  I found myself absolutely persuaded by Ásta's extraordinary journey from the harsh Icelandic coast to the strange and splendid palaces of Algiers.  I enjoyed and admired it in equal measure.

Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

Remarkably accomplished… The true story behind the novel is almost preposterously epic, yet she brings it to life by inhabiting the minds of her characters.

David Robinson, The Scotsman

Icelandic history has been brought to extraordinary life.  I was swept up in the story and the vivid plight of people taken away from everything they knew and understood.  An accomplished and intelligent novel.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, author of Why Did You Lie?

Bibliographic Info

Attribute Details
Title: The Sealwoman’s Gift
Book Features
Edition / printing: First edition, first printing
Overall condition: Fine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
Signed: On the title page
Awards and Media
Book Club listing: Featured on Radio 2 Book Club (Monday 19 February 2018)
Book Stats
Publisher: John Murray Press
Imprint: Two Roads
Publication date:
Printed by: Clays Ltd, Bungay
ISBN 13: 9781473638952
ISBN 10: 147363895X
Format: Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages: 349
Size (h x w x d): 223 x 143 x 34mm
Image and Design Credits
Author photograph: Derek Prescott
Jacket illustration: Joe Wilson

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