Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
The latest from Hargrave...is slow paced and deliberate, as if dreading its own unhappy denouement. It’s strength lies in the richly researched details of primitive Norwegian village life, which illustrate how the women scrape a livelihood from the barren subarctic.
British poet and playwright Hargrave plucks a piece of 400-year-old legal history—a European king’s prosecution of 91 people for witchcraft—and gives it a feminist spin ... This chilling tale of religious persecution is served up with a feminist bite.
...[a] dark, dramatic historical ... Hargraves’s tale offers a feminist take on a horrific moment in history with its focus on the subjugation of women, superstition in isolated locations, and brutality in the name of religion. This is a potent novel.