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Victoria Kielland

Autor(a) de My Men

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Obras de Victoria Kielland

My Men (2021) 48 cópias
Mina män : roman (2023) 2 cópias

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This novel is based on the life of Belle Guinness, a real woman who emigrated from Norway to the US and then murdered several people, including family members, in the early 1900s in the Midwest. Kielland changes some details, although not the protagonist's name, but she is less interested here in the details than she is in Belle's emotional state. The novel is told in the third person, but from within Belle's emotions, so that events are recounted not by what happened, but by how Belle felt. And in moments of great emotional upheaval, Belle goes silent, so that what happens is told in the aftermath.

This is a novel without sharp details, one of rounded corners, giving the impression of watching through a dirty window. And I suspect that the translation adds an addition layer of cloudy glass. This is, in other words, a hard novel to cipher. Despite the way the book follows Belle's state of mind, I don't know any more about this character after reading this book than I did beforehand.
… (mais)
½
 
Marcado
RidgewayGirl | outras 4 resenhas | Feb 1, 2024 |
Im Jahr 1876 ist Brynhild erst siebzehn Jahre alt, als sie sich unsterblich verliebt. Doch sie ist nur eine Magd und der Hoferbe hat nicht wirklich Interesse an ihr. Als sie ihm gesteht, dass sie schwanger ist, schlägt er sie und tritt ihr in den Bauch. Sie flüchtet zu ihren Eltern, doch auch da kann sie nicht auf Verständnis hoffen. Da ihre Schwester in Amerika verheiratet ist und auch Kinder hat, glaubt sie, dass sie dort ihr Leben bestreiten kann. Sie nennt sich nun Belle. Männer treten in ihr Leben, Waisenkinder werden von ihr aufgenommen, doch immer wieder entreißt der Tod ihr diese Menschen. Aber ihr Glück findet sie nicht.
Ich habe mich schwer getan mit dieser Geschichte. Der recht poetische Erzählstil ist sprunghaft und ausufernd und die Person blieb mir fremd. Die Gefühlswelt von Brynhild wird ausführlich und dicht beschrieben, doch über ihre Taten erfährt man wenig. Auf ihrem Grundstück werden später viele Leichen gefunden, doch die Mörderin ist verschwunden. Diese Frau und Serienmörderin (Belle Gunness) hat es tatsächlich gegeben.
Brynhild hat Schreckliches erlebt und das hat traumatische Wunden hinterlassen. Sie setzt große Hoffnungen in jede Art von Beziehung, wird aber immer wieder enttäuscht, da ihre Sehnsucht sich nicht erfüllt. Die Wunden heilen nicht und so kommt es, dass sie ihren Weg geht.
Es ist ein Psychogramm einer ungewöhnlichen Frau.
… (mais)
 
Marcado
buecherwurm1310 | outras 4 resenhas | Dec 15, 2023 |
In 1876, Norway, seventeen-year-old Brynhild Storset is embroiled in an affair with a man who leaves her after she gets pregnant and ends the affair in a vicious act of violence. She eventually emigrates to America joining her sister, Nellie, in the Midwest takes up work as a maid and seamstress. She changes her name to Bella (later Belle) and strives to begin a new life. However, her past haunts her and she is consumed by guilt and shame and an inherent mistrust of those around her. Belle gets a fresh start, marrying a man who loves her, and taking in abandoned children, thereby fulfilling her desire for love and family. However, Belle’s life is not one of happily ever afters but one of disillusionment and anger towards a world that fails to evoke any feeling of belongingness within her and as the narrative progresses we follow Belle as she embarks on a journey of violence, greed and crime.

I found the premise of My Men by Victoria Lielland (translated by Damion Searls) very interesting. A fictional account of the life of Belle Gunness, one of America’s most notorious serial killers, this is a short novel and a relatively quick read. The writing is dense and immersive with a melancholic, slightly sinister tone to it. Belle’s inner thoughts are written in an almost stream-of-consciousness style - disjointed, often collapsing upon each other, clearly indicating how she gradually becomes unhinged. It is difficult to fathom Belle’s motivations - a fact that keeps you hooked to the narrative. While I did enjoy the powerful writing, I had hoped that Belle’s life would have been covered in more detail. The narrative focuses more on Belle’s psyche rather than the actual incidents/crimes per se, some of which are revealed, some alluded to, and some glossed over toward the end of the novel. Do note that some descriptions are of a graphic (and gross) nature.

Many thanks to Astra Publishing House and NetGalley for the digital review copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
… (mais)
½
 
Marcado
srms.reads | outras 4 resenhas | Sep 4, 2023 |
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Based on the true story of Norwegian maid turned Midwestern farmwife Belle Gunness, the first female serial killer in American history. My Men is a fictional account of one broken woman's descent into inescapable madness.

Among thousands of other Norwegian immigrants seeking freedom, Brynhild Størset emigrated to the American Upper Midwest in the late nineteenth century, changing her name and her life. As Bella, later Belle Gunness, she came in search of not only fortune and true faith but, most of all, love.

From Victoria Kielland, a rising star of Norwegian literature, comes My Men, a literary reimagining of the harrowing true story of Belle Gunness, who slowly but irreversibly turned to senseless murder for release from her pain, becoming America’s first known female serial killer. In pursuit of her American Dream, Kielland’s Belle grows increasingly alienated, ruthless, and perversely compelling.

Raw, visceral, and altogether hypnotic, My Men is a brutal yet radically empathetic glimpse into the world of a woman consumed by desire.

I RECEIVED A DRC FROM THE PUBLISHER VIA EDELWEISS+. THANK YOU.

My Review
: When a writer sets their talent to the task of fictionalizing evil, there are choices to make that will determine the level of suspension of disbelief the reader's being asked to invest. Is the evil inherent (readily believable), evoked (sympathetically believable), or situational (tough to justify or invest in)? Is the perpetrator the victim lashing out, taking power back, or simply looking to survive in hard conditions? All of these ask us, as readers, to put aside our judgments of the bad actor to some extent and to come to a fuller understanding of what really happened (in the cases where evil is factually based, as this one is).

I'll say that I understood Belle Gunness a lot differently after this read than before it.

A more-or-less stream of consciousness, loosely structured narrative style suits the apparent purpose of humanizing a murdering, remorseless killer of many people. What the author seems to want me to do is to think of Belle as a person, in hard circumstances, not as just a killing machine. That didn't happen. As I followed her increasingly disordered thoughts and feelings, as I saw what she saw and worked back from there to her probable outside stimulus, I felt sympathy drain away from me. This is the situationally evil character, one who just does what she (in this case) does because she can. This person was a killer who liked killing for the power it conferred on her. The inner thoughts of such a person, as ficionalized, left me thinking how very easy it seemed to be for her to untether her blunted, stunted moral sense from anything that was outside her own mind. I'd assumed Gunness was existentially threatened herself and then enacted that on others. Before this read, what I saw was a need to redress her powerless victim state. After, she came through these pages as a narcissistic bundle of insecurities with a grossly overblown sense of what the world owed her.

If, like me, you thought we'd get a retelling of the life Belle Gunness led that made her what she was, get that out of your head. We're inside Belle's mind, arguably a more interesting place to be. It's going to put some readers off, because it's 100% conjecture. You're not tethered to the facts of Belle's life. You're asked to put aside that readerly need. Your disbelief buys you, however, the strange and deeply interesting view of a murdering sociopath's thought processes.

I hope like hell someone at the publisher's end made more than a cursory check on the author's background because she's very, very good...chillingly good...at making this horrifying person's inner life accessible to a casual reader.

I don't think everyone will appreciate this read. I know I expected something other than what I got. I liked the actual book better than the one I thought I'd be reading in the end.
… (mais)
 
Marcado
richardderus | outras 4 resenhas | Aug 23, 2023 |

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Obras
2
Membros
50
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#316,248
Avaliação
3.1
Resenhas
5
ISBNs
11
Idiomas
5
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