Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

I went down the Google rabbit hole after I read this novel. I simply had to find out if there were, in fact, Sin Eaters that existed in history. And you know what? There was!

“ A Sin Eater is a person who consumes a ritual meal in order to spiritually take on the sins of a deceased person. The food was believed to absorb the sins of a recently dead person, thus absolving the soul of a person. Sin Eaters as a consequence carried the sins of all the people whose sins they had eaten” (Wikipedia)

I was curious about the title of this book,

and I found the cover striking,

and I found the premise intriguing.

Can you imagine being given the sentence of “ eating in order to absolve others of their sins”?

Specific food for a specific sin.

Dried Raisins for adultery.

Crows meat with plum for slander.

Black pudding for revenge.

I won’t list the gag-inducing foods for the more serious sins.

As a Sin Eater, not only would you be privy to the transgressions of the poor, you would also possess the darkest secrets of the royal court….information that would most surely put your life in jeopardy. And above all else, a Sin Eater only speaks to those with whom she hears confession. Our protagonist May is caught stealing food and thus is sentenced to the life of a Sin Eater, and although she is traumatized by her sentence she does see a wee bit of a silver lining….

at least she won’t die hungry

I really enjoyed this book. This was the kind of book you could start reading on a Saturday morning and be finished by the end of the day and be thoroughly entertained throughout it all.

The Heart and Other Monsters

The Heart and Other Monsters by Rose Anderson

In this non-fiction piece, Rose Anderson writes of the death of her younger sister due to a drug overdose. Her sister’s death serves as the focus of this memoir, and around it, Anderson shares her own personal history. The memoir seems to serve as a means of healing for the author. It is a very heart wrenching read as we hear of Anderson’s struggle with dealing with her grief and her attempt to understand why her sister lived such a tragic life.

I read this book in one evening. It was impossible to put down. It is raw and real and very very heart wrenching but at times possessive of poetic language and imagery.

Read it.
It is amazing.

Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury for the free ARC

The Night Swim

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for sending me a free advanced copy of The Night Swim.

This book turned out to be a good distraction during this time of quarantine. It was an easy read and didn’t require a lot of concentration…which is just the only type of book I seem to be able to read lately.
Rachel is reporter, researcher and host of the true-crime podcast “Guilty or Not Guilty” a show that “puts you in the jury box”. On her way to Neopolis, Rachel stops at a truck stop for something to eat. Upon returning to her car, she finds a note written by a young woman by the name of Hannah. In her letter, Hannah asks Rachel to help her find those responsible for her sister’s death. Coincidentally Hannah’s sister was killed in the same town as the rape trial Rachel is covering. Will Rachel be intrigued enough to take this on? Will Rachel have the time to cover two crimes?
Years ago Hannah tragically lost her sister in a “swimming accident”. Her body was found in the water under a pier. Hannah always knew her sister’s death wasn’t an accident and is now after all these years is ready to make those that are responsible pay. Hannah believes True Crime reporter and podcaster Rachel can help her find the killer(s).
Each chapter in this novel is written by alternating perspectives. There are chapters consist of letters written by Hannah that, over the course of the novel, slowly reveal clues about the night her sister was killed. There are Chapters written that follow Rachel’s actions and thoughts, and then there are chapters that are a transcript of Rachel’s podcast.
Besides being an engaging read, Goldin also takes the time to honestly deal with the topic of rape and stresses through the format of podcast transcripts the importance of following facts free of bias.
This was a quick read revolving around a timely topic. It would be a very suitable title for a book club and would offer in-depth discussion. I would also feel comfortable suggesting it as a title for high school students to read.

You can buy The Night Swim August 2020