They begin sharing secrets with the friar. Yet of one thing she is absolutely certain: In these desperate times her daughter-in-law would prefer one less hungry mouth at the family table. Come morning, she no longer knows if the horror she witnessed was real or imagined. She only knows that if the friar hears of it, she may be damned in this life as well as the next. From the Hardcover edition. Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.source url
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To ask other readers questions about The Witch's Trinity , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Jun 16, Theresa rated it really liked it. It's so rare to find a first-person book told from the perspective of an elder woman. Novels about the witch hunts of Europe are particularly compelling given the high percentage of women, especially older women, who were killed as witches.
To read a novel where the action takes place through the eyes of such an elder was emotionally wrenching. The most effective part of the book was the depiction of how younger women were so quick to turn on the old, and how though the punishment was meted out It's so rare to find a first-person book told from the perspective of an elder woman. The most effective part of the book was the depiction of how younger women were so quick to turn on the old, and how though the punishment was meted out by men, it was women who helped literally and figuratively fuel the fire of the hunts.
Feb 17, Shaun rated it liked it Shelves: I bought this book at a consignment shop for a dollar because I thought both the cover and title were intriguing. The story takes place in sixteenth century rural Germany at a time when Christianity is slowly replacing, or rather merging with, pagan traditions. The story is told by Gude, an aging widow, who is probably suffering from something like Alzheimers further complicated by inadequate nutrition. As such Gude's narrative is completely rational and lucid at one moment and d I bought this book at a consignment shop for a dollar because I thought both the cover and title were intriguing.
As such Gude's narrative is completely rational and lucid at one moment and downright ridiculous at the next. Okay, I get it The problem is as the reader you must determine what is "really" happening and what is only happening in Gude's mind. It just didn't work for me as I felt it was distancing and a barrier to connecting with the main character. The plot, which revolves around a "witch" hunt is solid, though I felt it moved a little too slowly in the beginning.
This is partly because of the long passages describing Gude's hallucinations, which did little to move the story forward. To the contrary, they dragged it down. I also felt the characters were stiff and somewhat contrived, rough sketches of characters with very little depth or substance rather than fully flushed out characters that come alive throughout the course of the story. As a reader who values strong, vivid characters this was a huge bummer for me. However, Mailman does deliver on the ending, which invites the reader to reflect on the fine line between superstition and religion It certainly plays out the witch hunt theme to its fullest potential, offering both a tragic injustice right alongside a warped sort of cosmic justice.
Oh, and I love the word "rutting," a term for sex. I thought the sexual practices of the village like the entire town watching as a newly married couple consummated the marriage were quite interesting and I am curious to know if Mailman based her descriptions of these socio-cultural tidbits on factual texts or simply made them up. I'm not sure I would recommend this book unless, like me, you enjoy historical fiction and happen to come across it for a dollar.
However, if witch hunts are your thing and you don't mind the weaknesses I've mentioned, this might be a book for you. View all 3 comments. Jan 22, Kemble rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Erika Mailman's novel about witch burnings in Germany is so compelling you'll feel like you can smell the smoke from the pyre. It's also a vivid reminder of what happens when religious leaders twist the tenets of their faiths for their own evil agendas. This is historical fiction that turns out to be remarkably timely. Wonderful historical novel centred around a village in 16th century Germany.
The 'church' rides in brandishing its crosses and hoping for the torture and murder of poor women accused of witchcraft. By preying on poor people's ignorance they soon have their victims in the elderly 'wise woman' and her friend. This novel highlights the misogynism and methods of fear the church have used throughout the centuries to control the masses. The story centres around Gude, an elderly woman whose daughter in Wonderful historical novel centred around a village in 16th century Germany.
The story centres around Gude, an elderly woman whose daughter in law soon accuses her of witchcraft in the hope of there being one less mouth to feed. This is one of those books to make you think and to make you feel. Aug 13, Linda C. A haunting tale of paranoia and fanaticism. Human nature can be strange.
The mentality of a mob for example, shows how brutal people can become when surrounded by others who are filled with passionate anger. Erika Mailman shows us through the eyes of an elderly woman what it would have been like to live in the Middle Ages when witchcraft was thought to be the cause of any misfortune. The famine described in this small village of Tierkinddorf, Germany is haunting. It made me feel strange reading the A haunting tale of paranoia and fanaticism.
It made me feel strange reading the novel while having my lunch. I began to feel guilty knowing that the characters were willing to accuse others of witchcraft just to get a bite to eat. A scapegoat was needed to place all the blame of the village's misfortune.
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It was thought that then, all things would revert back to days of plenty. That the famine would end. The paranoia, the suspicion, the opportunity to point the finger of blame at someone whom you bear a grudge. An accusation of milk spoiling was enough to damn someone to being burned to death, and you didn't even have to bring forth the spoiled milk as evidence.
Your word was enough, if coupled with other such scurrilous complaints, to condemn someone to death. Given today's sensibilities the thought of public execution is abhorrent. However, it is a gruesome part of our history that drawing and quarterings, beheadings, hangings, and burning at the stake were all done in the village square to serve as a lesson to all. Beware or it may happen to you. The Witch's Trinity is a potent tale whose ending surprised me. I highly recommend it. Less than pages, this book encapsulates the potential of evil within us as a species, and exemplifies the kinds of atrocities we — as human beings — are able and willing to commit against one another.
It is in this point that the book and its story are relevant; though the novel is set during the first decade of the 16th century, the same kinds of atrocities have plagued the 20th and 21st. I would eagerly recommend this book to anyone interested in the darker aspects of history, and especially to those interested in the notorious witch trials of 17th century Salem. In reality, the Salem Witch Trials of mark the end of a year period of intense frenzy and persecution throughout most of the Old World: The events of Salem must be viewed and understood within this larger persecutory context if our understanding of them is to be rich, meaningful, and complete.
There are two aspects that make this book, in my humble opinion, superb. Firstly, it serves as an excellent introduction to one of the most interesting, notorious, and horrendous books ever published, Malleus Maleficarum. The novel uses quotes from the Malleus Maleficarum to introduce every chapter as a kind of preliminary theme, and Mailman begins her book by inserting the Papal Bull issued by Pope Innocent VIII inaugurating the creation of the Malleus Maleficarum.
Most novels I have read concerning witch trials — especially the Salem Witch Trials — deal primarily with the details of the events themselves, and not the overall context that unifies them into a cohesive whole. Believe it or not, Mailman conveys the essence of this process in less than pages!!! My advice to everyone out there: Jan 17, Pam rated it it was amazing.
What a strange book, that I thoroughly enjoyed. I really loved it. I felt like I got a true sense of what life would be like in the early 's in Germany, and a really really good sense of what witch trials would have been like to witness and experience. I love that the book wraps up nicely without leaving any loose ends. Very exciting story, and a very believable ending. I hope to be able to read more by Mailmain in th What a strange book, that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope to be able to read more by Mailmain in the future.
It blurred the line between reality and dream - and I'm still wondering where the line is, and if the main character's mind could be trusted. I like the language of this book. It's very well done and draws you right into 16th century Germanic people. I also love the interplay between Christianity and the older spirituality that pre-existed it.
I love that they pray to the Christian God, but always do so facing the West as they did in ancient times. I love the sign the main character makes to be thankful for the rabbit her son hunts.
The Witch's Trinity by Erika Mailman | viwacylu.tk
I love the "witch's song" she hears in her mind Many of the scenes in the book are very graphic especially the burning at the stake scene so be aware. Picked this one up randomly at my local library I was afraid to tell her what I feared: And for all the praying I've done in my life, I fear that prayers are bits of grain the birds drop to the wind. Nov 09, Jessica rated it liked it. Hysteria, paranoia, jealousy, and false accusations. You get all those emotions and actions in this book, with a few sprinklings of happy memories and hope in one bleak situation after another.
I do have to say, though - there was one scene that actually had me cringing and worried about losing my lunch. Erika Mailman described the scene - removal of bandages after the stone test - in such a way that I felt every tear of skin, heard every scream, and smelled each new smell. I probably would have Hysteria, paranoia, jealousy, and false accusations.
I probably would have enjoyed the book a lot more if I could have found one character that I liked.
The Witch's Trinity
I liked Gude in the beginning, but quickly grew tired of her "visions" and uncertainty. I definitely despised Irmeltrude, even as I tried to understand her conniving ways, and just couldn't bring myself to care for either child or Jost, the husband, until near the end. Feb 03, Eileen Phillips rated it really liked it Recommends it for: I was wandering the store looking for something to read, and I was considering An American Dream by Norman Mailer , but then this book caught my eye. It is told from the point of view of an old woman in a little German village in the late 's.
She lives with her son, his wife, and their daughter and son. They are in their second year of no harvest and a friar comes from a bigger city to find the witch that has caused the blight. Fearing her daughter will accuse her to get rid of a mouth to f I was wandering the store looking for something to read, and I was considering An American Dream by Norman Mailer , but then this book caught my eye. Fearing her daughter will accuse her to get rid of a mouth to feed, certain events cause Gude to wonder if she is guilty anyway May 04, Kristy Billuni rated it it was amazing. Usually, authors are good at one or the other: But though Erica Mailman is a master of character-driven voice, her plot skills are sharp too.
I blazed through this book in a reading fever. Her 14th Century German witches are just as exciting as her Gold Rush hookers. Her old women are just as entertaining as her young ones. Her narrative maintains a deep intimacy with the main character, and no character is all good or all bad. Her descriptions r Usually, authors are good at one or the other: Her descriptions reek of both the rankness and sensual pleasure of being human. The Witch's Trinity seems to have been written in part as a reaction to the author's discovery that she had ancestress accused of witchcraft she beat the charge, twice.
In many ways, it is similar to that great novel written in response to the witchcraft trials, The Scarlet Letter. In his book, Hawthorne mediates on sin and what constitutes the worst sin. He presents us with a trinity of sins Hester's, Dimmesdale's, and Chillingworth's. He looks at how the society of the time, how the reader, The Witch's Trinity seems to have been written in part as a reaction to the author's discovery that she had ancestress accused of witchcraft she beat the charge, twice. He looks at how the society of the time, how the reader, and how the writer all view these sins. Mailman is less concerned about sin, and more concerned about people.
Yet, despite it's German setting, it bares a strong resemblance to Hawthorne's work. The central character in Mailman's book is an older woman. The whole story is told from the perspective of Gude who at the start of the novel is only one of two people left from her generation. Gude's village is living though a multi year famine. There is little food. Gude's daughter-in-law, Irmeltrud, resents her because of Gude's inability to do heavy work as well as the presence of another mouth to feed. Into this stressful situation comes a friar looking for a witch or witches to burn.
There are two things that prevent Mailman's work from simply being one of those poor innocent persecuted woman gets to nail it to the bastards story. The first is the fact that the story is written in such away that we cannot be entirely sure of what we are being told. Gude freely admits her mind roams. Is she dreaming or experiencing witchcraft? Did some things really happen? The other element is very similar to Hawthorne.
Mailman puts the reader in the position of reluctant judge. While no woman would want Irmeltrud for a daughter-in-law, it is difficult to be too harsh on her. But can I say that I would act any different if I had to watch my two children starve to death? No, I can't I'm not a mother, but could any mother? After all, children were abandoned in times of famine, that fairy tale has roots in truth and in the original, it was mommy dearest, not evil stepmother.
It is though the trials and accusations in the book that Mailman hearkens closest to Hawthorne. The great thing about Letter is that Hawthorne didn't say anyone was innocent. While it is true that today, we wouldn't see Hester's sin as a sin, it is important to remember that the reader is suppose to Hester as a woman who has sinned. This was the problem with that god awful movie version with Oldman. It totally chucked the sin part, and turned Hester into a feminist.
Cause that's far more interesting. Mailman does the same thing. Gude is a good person, but she, like the rest of the village, gets caught up in the accusation hysteria and it comes back to bite her. Like Hester, though, Gude is the first member of the village to realize the horror of what happened. Gude like Hester learns. My one complaint is that the ending is a bit too PC, but not entirely unbelievably so.
Mailman offers in this book, a mediation on why people act the way they do, on how hysteria sets in and cannot be controlled. She keeps the story controlled. There is no one real total villain. The closest one gets is the friar, yet there is his performance in the end, and Frau Zweig, whose motivations have reason.
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It is a more studied fictional look at the witchcraft craze without the comfortably illusion of black and white. May 18, Justin rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a grim book, though its bleakness is mitigated somewhat by its short length. At under pages, The Witch's Trinity offers a nightmarish parable rather than an epic, and in my opinion is just the right length, as any more story would likely be too depressing to take.
As it is, the book is entertaining in its delivery and fascinating in its layered message. The story takes place in 16th century Germany, in a small village wracked by famine. The narrator is an elderly woman named Gude who This is a grim book, though its bleakness is mitigated somewhat by its short length. The narrator is an elderly woman named Gude who has lived beyond her working years and is dependent upon her desperate, hungry family.
An itinerant friar arrives at the village, ostensibly to cure their spiritual ills and bring prosperity back to their fields. As proof, he offers the latest literature on the subject as his guide: What follows is Gude's increasingly frantic attempts to keep herself and her grandchildren safe as the villagers fall upon one another to root out the witch, spurred on by encouragements, threats, and bribes by the friar.
As she attempts to separate disturbing visions in the forest from the tricks of her increasingly senile mind, she also fights as far as she knows for her own soul's salvation, as well. On the surface, this is a powerful witch-hunt story, told with exquisite historical detail and imbued with the right amount of suspense and horror both supernatural and all too familiar.
However, just as with similar stories before it, The Witch's Trinity hints at deeper, more disturbing themes. Of particular note are the lengths one will go to in order to protect their family and themselves, the consequences of adhering blindly to doctrine, and how the evils humans will visit upon one another are the same regardless of what religion is used to justify them. The specter of starvation is a much more oppressive force than that of witchcraft in this book, and drives the story to terrifying effect. I think there are messages in this book that are particularly timely and prescient.
Even aside from that, however, this book grew on me, and I thought about it for days after I finished reading it. It is both a quick and engaging read, and I would recommend it to those with a taste for these kinds of stories. Why should a good Christian community be suffering such deprivation when communities in other parts of Germany are not? The only explanation is that the town has been cursed by witchcraft. Written in simple, sleek prose, Mailman captures the corruption of fear in a small town to a tee.
The cold, snowy German winter, the pangs of starvation, the abuses of the Church and the resiliency of the people are all palpable images, beautifully executed to maximum impact. Reviewed by Ilysa Magnus.
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