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The Woman who Loved an Octopus and Other Saints’ Tales

Imogen Rhia Herrad
Publication Date: 
Monday, May 21, 2007
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From the sensuous sea to flight from the world, The Woman who Loved an Octopus is an inspired collection of twelve themed short stories, based on the lives and legends of thirteen Celtic women saints from the first millennium.

Retelling their stories in an intimate, contemporary sometimes startling fashion, Imogen Rhia Herrad has created a new vision of these women, who were perhaps far from 'saintly' by current definition. Some - Non, Winifred, Tydfil - are relatively well known, while others are almost forgotten. Their tales reveal a strength and inner freedom in those more usually seen as victims and martyrs.

Herrad explores intently and imaginatively the crossover between the physical, sexual, spiritual and mystical in the ancient and modern worlds she visits. The stories tell of refugees, circus acts, rape, love, death and miracles, while her saints also inhabit the natural world of streams, islands and birds.

This is not a book of historical tracts or faithful retellings: hugely inventive, Herrad's stories flood old tales with fresh, or rediscovered meaning.


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