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Poison af Kathryn Harrison
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Poison (original 1995; udgave 1996)

af Kathryn Harrison

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
335757,738 (3.4)11
The interwoven lives of two doomed women during the Spanish Inquisition, both accused of being witches. One is Francesca, a merchant's daughter who had an affair with a priest, the other is Queen Maria Luisa who has failed to produce an heir. One will perish at the stake, the other by being poisoned. By the author of Exposure.… (mere)
Medlem:ditchdiggergirl
Titel:Poison
Forfattere:Kathryn Harrison
Info:Harper Perennial (1996), Edition: First Printing, Slight spine Lean, Paperback, 336 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Poison af Kathryn Harrison (1995)

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In Poison, Kathryn Harrison tells two parallel tales, one historical, one fictitious, both set in Spain in the late 1600s. The historical plot line involves the ill-fated arranged marriage of French princess Marie-Louise to Carlos II, the physically and mentally feeble scion of the Spanish Hapsburg dynasty. The fictitious story is about Francisca, a poor silk farmer's daughter, who falls in love with a priest and runs afoul of the Spanish Inquisition. The two narrative threads are only tangentially connected, yet both illustrate the misogyny of Baroque-era Spain.

Harrison deserves credit for not reducing Marie-Louise and Carlos’s story to a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”. Carlos is frail, childlike, and clueless about sex; his deformed physique and limited intellect are the result of many years of Hapsburg family coddling and inbreeding. Marie-Louise finds his habits, especially his penchant for drinking human milk, nauseating. When she fails to produce an heir, the royal court, led by her evil mother-in-law Marianna, conspires to get rid of her.

Both narratives rely to some extent on clichés. Tragic, forbidden love between a young woman and a priest has been done before, as has the mother-in-law from hell trope. The reader also must accept that as the narrator, Francisca somehow knows the intimate details of Marie-Louise's life, even though the two characters never meet.

Nonetheless, the book contains some wonderful details related to taste and scent, including, for example, the unpalatable egg dishes served at every meal because after one hundred years of dynastic decline, the royal household can no longer afford a variety of food. The narrative also contains heart-rending scenes of torture, animal cruelty, and death. Yet for those who can handle the sadness, injustice and suffering that are vividly described in this book, as well as the occasional overused plot device, it is a rewarding read. ( )
  akblanchard | Aug 15, 2015 |
Min of meer het verhaal van Marie-Louise de Bourbon, maar verweven met het verhaal van een meisje uit dezelfde tijd; Francisca de Luarca, dochter van een zijdeteler. Het verhaal wordt ook verteld vanuit Francisca. De schrijfster kan in de beschrijving van de rupsenteelt wat doorslaan; die eerste bladzijden waren saai. Ik neem aan dat ze een beeld wilde neerzetten van de leefwereld van de hoofdpersoon, en dat doet ze door het boek heen ook heel goed, maar soms is het wat overdreven waardoor het de vaart uit het verhaal haalt. Boeiend verhaal. ( )
  Cromboek | Aug 31, 2013 |
Fascinating account of the Spanish Inquisition and how people dealt with it. It's a dark tale about hopelessness and the dangers of intolerance. The differences between the two women's lives is strikingly portrayed. ( )
  sushitori | Aug 1, 2013 |
Set in 17th Century Spain, Poison has two threads running through the narrative. The first follows the daughter of a silk worm farmer, a young woman called Francisca who is currently in the clutches of the inquisition. Her fate is tied with that of the Spanish royal family, the young French wife of Carlos II is still not pregnant.

Francisca's story is her fall from grace, seduced by a priest and thought of as a witch, it is only a matter of time that she would come to the attention of the Inquisition. Her lover also passed on his knowledge to her, an educated woman only attracts more suspicion in the village she is from.

Francisca shares a link with Maria Luisa, both are similar in age, there paths have even crossed. Maria Luisa gives up everything on her marriage, her homeland, her name, and even the right to control her own body. As hopes for an heir are still running high, despite an impotent husband, she is scrutinised even more closely, with her only, rather unlikely, confidante, a court dwarf.

Poison is entertaining, with lots of historical detail, it had a rather different tone from the other books I have read by the same author. Harrison takes us into the heart of the silk industry and also into lives of two very different women, both isolated. Just right for a lazy end of summer weekend of reading. ( )
  soffitta1 | Feb 11, 2012 |
La España del siglo XVII olía a cadáver amortajado en seda. El subsuelo de Madrid era una inmensa mazmorra, y el reino entero, su antesala. Hambrunas, sequías, pestes y tributos acobardaban menos que el rigor persecutorio del Santo Oficio.

Saber leer, lo mismo que saber curar, resultaba tan peligroso como disfrutar del sexo fuera del matrimonio, en especial para una mujer. El terror se infiltraba como veneno en la sangre de todos y hacía de cada cual una víctima y un delator en potencia. Ése fue el país que halló María Luisa de Borbón, tras abandonar las dulzuras de Versalles para casarse con el monarca español Carlos II el Hechizado, un hombre enclenque y medio inválido, que dormía en un lecho sembrado de reliquias y se alimentaba con pan bendito remojado en leche humana. La existencia de María Luisa corrió en misterioso paralelo con la de Francisca de Luarca -nacida en idéntica fecha pero cerca de Burgos-, una plebeya de espíritu rebelde que no dudó en arriesgar su suerte por amor al clérigo que le había abierto las puertas del conocimiento y la sexualidad. De estas dos vidas nos habla Veneno, una novela donde la Historia se muestra a través de las trágicas historias de sus víctimas femeninas.
  kika66 | Feb 5, 2011 |
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The interwoven lives of two doomed women during the Spanish Inquisition, both accused of being witches. One is Francesca, a merchant's daughter who had an affair with a priest, the other is Queen Maria Luisa who has failed to produce an heir. One will perish at the stake, the other by being poisoned. By the author of Exposure.

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