Sin Eater

Megan Campisi. Atria, $27 (304p) ISBN : 978-1-9821-2410-6
Playwright Campisi draws on a punitive English folk ritual in her rousing, impressive debut, a bleak reimagining of palace intrigue in 16th-century England. Convicted for vagrancy, 14-year-old May Owens is condemned to be a sin eater, a woman meant to absorb the sins of the dying by hearing deathbed confessions and consuming symbolic foods (“Bearing a Bastard—Grapes”). After a fellow sin eater refuses to eat a deer heart placed on the coffin of Corlis Ashton, governess to young Queen Bethany (a stand-in for Elizabeth I), the Queen’s secretary, Black Fingers, sentences the sin eater to death. Black Fingers then forces May to eat the heart, but she never hears Corlis’s confession or learns which sin the heart represents—though she senses uncomfortably that the heart signifies murder. As May becomes convinced that Corlis was not guilty, she risks questioning Black Fingers’s judgment and he stabs her, a wound from which she barely recovers. Undaunted, May seeks help from fellow outcasts Bridey, who is a leper, and Paul to untangle a complicated court conspiracy. Campisi’s stirring portrait of injustice is deepened by May’s cleverness, frustration, and grief. This spellbinding novel is a treat for fans of feminist speculative fiction. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 12/12/2019
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0213-9
Ebook - 978-1-9821-2412-0
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