The Necessary Rituals of Maren Gripe

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9780007113330: The Necessary Rituals of Maren Gripe

A giddyingly magical fable of the power of unshackled desire, set in a North Sea fishing community.

Maren abstains from salt, meat and sex on Saturdays. On the other days of the week, she is magically, magnetically desirable to every man in her remote North Sea fishing village, and to all visiting seamen, but has remained totally faithful to her husband. When she crawls into bed with intent in the early hours of one spring Saturday morning, her husband is paralysed with shock, not least because, somehow, she smells of autumn…

Within hours, Maren’s life is crumbling, as is her marriage and the life of her community. She’s to be found in a pub full of lusty sailors, baring her breasts before the astonished regulars and one entirely irregular visitor – a Dutch seaman who, uniquely, remains impervious to her charms. Her unrequited passion for him reaches fever pitch and sparks a sequence of arguments, thefts, fires and fights – the entire tranquil, ordered village goes crazy in her passion’s wake. Through a series of overlapping, contradictory statements from participants and observers – as in a criminal case – the reader is brought to the eye of the whirlwind, and into the presence of passion of absolute purity, and absolute fury.

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Review:

Maren Gripe has been warned by her mother that every Saturday she should abstain from meat and salt and must sleep apart from her husband Jacob. When Maren suddenly deviates from this pattern, the disruption to her necessary rituals causes her behaviour to change dramatically in Oystein Lnn's The Necessary Rituals of Maren Gripe.

One evening Maren enters the local tavern and falls instantly and irrevocably in unrequited love with Leo Tybrin Beck, a stranger to the remote village. She becomes drunk for the first time in her life, bares her breasts in public and is hurried to the asylum on another island. Thus begins a string of unexplained events which occur like a chain reaction among the people of her isolated island home. Through her mother Sunniva, husband Jacob, the constable sent to investigate the incredible happenings in the town and the doctor who treats Maren, we gradually come to learn of the mysterious events sparked by Maren's unusual behaviour. As Sunniva explains to the constable, the forces behind Maren's actions are incredibly powerful and likely to end in her disappointment:

"One who loves and one who is loved" she smiled. "It's almost always the way....She'll find out. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not a month from now and perhaps not even a year from now. But she will find out. It's not so bad. Not after the first few years, at any rate."

The story of Maren Gripe is told in cryptic prose, disjointed in structure, lending the story a dream-like quality. This sensual story is a treatise on the power of unreasoning, uncontrollable love at first sight, and utter resignation to that love being unrequited. --Rachel Ediss

Review:

‘This is a book for the reader to appreciate in the way one would a painting by an Old Master – from a variety of angles and distances. It is a novel that will linger in the mind long after the reader finishes it.’
Dagens Naeringsliv

‘This is a tale of subtle madness and of impossible love…a magnetic and magical story, which must be savoured attentively.’
Barbara Mella, What’s on in London

‘Oystein Lonn’s clear, quiet prose reflects both the white light of the Nordic landscapes and the folklorish essence of his narrative.’
Claire Allfree, Metro

‘Every now and then you come across something so outstandingly good that you have to tell everyone.’
Eoghan Corry, Andersonstown News

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Lønn, Øystein
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