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de Sarah Hall

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
23218118,350 (3.67)15
"In an unnamed British city, the virus is spreading, and like everyone else, the celebrated sculptor Edith Harkness retreats inside. She isolates herself in her immense studio, Burntcoat, with Halit, the lover she barely knows. As life outside changes irreparably, inside Burntcoat, Edith and Halit find themselves changed as well: by the histories and responsibilities each carries and bears, by the fears and dangers of the world outside, and by the progressions of their new relationship"--… (mais)

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» Veja também 15 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 18 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
[a:Sarah Hall|182771|Sarah Hall|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1301864582p2/182771.jpg] has written a poetic novel of a young sculptor who has grown up isolated on the English moors with her post-stroke challenged mother. We accompany her to Japan to study shou sugi ban, the charring of wood as means of preservation and a key technique in her huge works. The art info is captivating and we are humming along when a pandemic arises, bread is in short supply, and masks are required. It is a shock to read this first post-COVID story and the ramifications are dire. Without the fine writing, I might have bailed at the sadness but its sadness is authentic and of our times. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
The number of times I've finished several books I enjoyed just fine, thinking I'm doing well picking for myself, and then started a Sarah Hall book and realized anew, oh, this is writing. ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
Beautifully written, but very uneven and often all over the place. 

While Sarah Hall’s prose shines here and carries the reader through, Burntcoat bites off far more than it can chew in its slim pages: we have the narrator, Edith, recalling her brain-damaged, once-famous author mother; her lover just during COVID lockdown begins (with, admittedly, some of the best written erotic scenes I’ve read in some time); how the virus spreads and breeds fear and unease in a small town; life as an artist of the grand scale, huge objects carved of wood and larger-than-life; and even a brief stint in a cult chanting mantras and listening to a guru.

All of this gets packed in and recalled in spurts of memory that feel unfocused, rushed, and ultimately lacking a cohesive flow to satisfy the reader. In some ways, while reading, it felt to me as if Hall began to write another novel entirely when lockdown took place, and incorporated COVID into a novel in which it didn’t belong—still, there’s something perversely reassuring about reading about lockdown, quarantine, a pandemic, while we’re still in the midst of one. If anything, this will add to the trove of fiction that is beginning to be published—and which surely will continue for some time—that deal in some way with our experience over the past two years with COVID.

3.5 stars ( )
  proustitute | Apr 2, 2023 |
When, in 2020, with the onset of Covid-19, the world started shutting down and whole populations were being shut inside, literature was – at least for some of us – a way of escaping the terrors of the present or, perhaps, trying to make sense of them. Gothic, horror and post-apocalyptic fiction seemed particularly adept at reflecting the all-pervasive end-of-times atmosphere.

Burntcoat by Sarah Hall is, however, one of the first novels – and, although admittedly a bold claim, possibly the first literary masterpiece – to be written during lockdown and to explicitly reference Covid-19. It is narrated by 59-year old Edith Harkness, a survivor, who surveys the life-changing pandemic with the benefit of intervening time.

The images Edith describes are familiar, even though the virus featured in the novel is actually much deadlier than the “novel coronavirus”, leading to one million deaths in the United Kingdom alone:

"The virus has shed its initial and older names. They were frightening, incorrect, discriminatory. Hanta. Nova. Now it is simply AG3. It is contained; an event in a previous era from which we continue to learn. Contingency planning. Social tracking. Herd control. The picture of the pathogen– orange and reticulated– has become as recognisable as the moon. Children sketch it in science lessons, the curious arms, proteins and spikes. The civic notices listing symptoms, and the slogans, look vintage ...

The images are so strong from that time. The nurse standing in the empty aisle, her back to us, hair dishevelled and her uniform crumpled, the weight of the shopping basket, though it is empty, pulling her body downwards. The Pope, kneeling in the rain in a deserted St Peter’s Square."

Edith is a visual artist. Her expertise lies in the creation of large-scale wooden sculptures, using a technique learnt in Japan. A major success in her 20s finances her acquisition of Burntcoat, a large riverside warehouse-like building at the outskirts of an unnamed British town. Burntcoat is at once her studio and her residence, a labour of love. On the announcement of lockdown, it is to Burntcoat that she retires, accompanied by restaurant-owner Halit, the new-found lover with whom she has just started a relationship.

Edith’s story, just like many of the present generations, will be marked by the pandemic. We meet her at the opening of the novel, putting the finishing touches on a commission meant to mark the victims of the pandemic, which prompts her recollections of that painful event. But Edith’s story is not just about the lockdown months, about the deaths and devastation. It is also about other aspects of her life – such as growing up with her mother, an author recovering from a severe stroke; the loss of her father, who abandoned the family when they most needed him; the growth of Edith’s artistic career. But, as one would expect, the novel keeps circling around those (literally and figuratively) feverish months.

At one point in the novel, Edith is discussing Naomi’s work with her agent Karolina. Critics have reassessed her mother’s writing, she tells us,

… the label of Gothic stripped off like cheap varnish. Karoline once said to me the term is used for women whose work the establishment enjoys but doesn’t respect. Men are the existentialists.

Leaving aside for the moment the problematic implication that the Gothic is cheap (alas, a centuries-old prejudice), this sounds much like an apology for Hall’s own novel. Indeed, although not primarily fascinated with “the ghostly, the ghastly and the supernatural”, to borrow Dale Townshend’s succinct definition of the Gothic, the novel does visit the tropes of the genre, exploiting them to great effect. The symptoms of the virus skirt body horror. The violence and breakdown of society echo post-apocalyptic fiction. Burntcoat itself might not be plagued by literal ghosts, but it is visited by illness and death and haunted by memories, a contemporary urban version of the possessed Gothic mansion. But Burntcoat is also, defiantly, a novel about life, love, and lust. Edith’s ground-breaking creations find a parallel in the (very explicit) sex scenes, which hungrily, almost desperately, challenge the impending siege of the virus.

Just like her narrator Edith, in Burntcoat Sarah Hall has given us a poetic tribute to the all those who have suffered losses during Covid. I perfectly understand that describing a work as a tribute is ambivalent praise. Because, admittedly, tributes tend to stick to safe ground, to seek a “common denominator” which will gain as wide approval as possible. Edith certainly doesn’t do so with her transgressive works. Similarly, Hall comes up with a work which might challenge some sensibilities, but which is also incredibly moving and ends, albeit without any sentimentality, on a note of cautious hope.

https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2021/08/burntcoat-by-sarah-hall.html ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Feb 21, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 18 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
[...] sparse, sumptuous, brilliant [...]
adicionado por Nevov | editarThe Guardian, Lara Feigel (Oct 8, 2021)
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"In an unnamed British city, the virus is spreading, and like everyone else, the celebrated sculptor Edith Harkness retreats inside. She isolates herself in her immense studio, Burntcoat, with Halit, the lover she barely knows. As life outside changes irreparably, inside Burntcoat, Edith and Halit find themselves changed as well: by the histories and responsibilities each carries and bears, by the fears and dangers of the world outside, and by the progressions of their new relationship"--

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823.92Literature English English fiction Modern Period 2000-

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Média: (3.67)
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