Antonio Albóndiga is sent to Sardinia after mishaps in his homeland, and is eventually banished to the village of Orune. Half the villagers—including Sarda and Shardana—follow a pre-Christian religion, while the other half observe a makeshift version of Catholicism and paganism.
Hate holds the priest's heart hostage, and he scorns Sarda and Shardana's adherence to ancient ways. Despite their suspicions, the healers and their village attempt not only to accept the stranger but to transform him.
A native of Seneca Falls, NY who lived in Minneapolis, MN for many years, Mary Saracino currently resides in Colorado. In addition to her work as a writer, Saracino teachers creative writing classes and workshops on the Divine Feminine. She is the author of four other books: The Singing of Swans, Voices of the Soft-Bellied Warrior, Finding Grace, and No Matter What. Her essays and fiction have been published in the anthologies Writing by Italian Canadian and Italian American Women, She is Everywhere, Don't Tell Mama! The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing, The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Write About Food and Culture, Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul, Hey Paesan! Writings by Lesbians & Gay Men of Italian Descent, the literary and cultural journals Italian Americana, Voices in Italian Americana, and Sinister Wisdom. Her poetry has been published in The New Verse News Online Journal, The Pedestal Magazine, Mothertongued.com, & Writers Who Cook.
The Singing of Swans tells the story of Madalene Ross, a thirty-year-old American who "lives in her head," cut off from her body, her heart, and her sense of purpose in the world. En route to and from her job as a computer programmer in Minneapolis, Madalene is hounded on the downtown streets by a homeless woman who asks "Got a match?" At night bizarre dreams haunt her sleep. Women fly through rooftops, chant in ancient temples, paint tongues of fire on vivid white canvases.
Madalene's story is interwoven with the lives of three women: Rosalina, a priestess of Persephone in 70 B.C.E. Sicily; Ziza, a strega (Italian witch) in 16th century northeastern Italy, and Ibla, an herbalist and painter in 18th century southern Italy. Sicily's Lake Pergusa and the Black Madonna also act as a portal to the rich tradition of pre-Christian spirituality that lies beneath Church dogma.
The Singing of Swans takes readers on a multi-century journey to uncover long-silenced traditions, crack Madalene's spiritual code and reclaim her soul. Elements of magical realism dovetail with historical storytelling as this compelling tale of redemption unfolds.
"The Singing of Swans is a remarkable narrative calling -- even compelling -- us to connect with our own ancestral roots, to seek our own inner wisdom, and to reclaim, our own inner voices," says Margaret Starbird, author of The Woman with the Alabaster Jar & Mary Magdalene: Bride in Exile.
"The Roman poet Ovid sang of the beautiful Sicilian lake where Persephone descended to the otherworld -- a lake now dying from overdevelopment," says Patricia Monaghan, author of The Goddess Path and The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog. "No siren's song could be more commanding than this novel centered on that magical lake. Generations of women of the streghe tradition -- call them pagans, call them witches -- join their voices in this tightly wrought magical chorus."
And then she met Pastor Adam Singletary.
From his vantage point on the stage, Adam Singletary’s body went very still as he watched the woman slip quietly, otherwise unnoticed, into the back of the church and take a seat on the last row. She set her purse on the floor and then looked up directly into his eyes. An arc of unseen electricity connected them, jolting his body to the center of his being.
She’s finally here, he thought.
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he's embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what's going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.
With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that's rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.
The fifty contributors in this anthologyscholars, creative writers, and visual artistsshare their vision for a world that reclaims the inviolability of the Divine Female in all Her many and varied manifestations.
She Is Everywhere! Volume 3 is the latest edition of a leading-edge series which, like its predecessors, offers an invaluable contribution to womens spirituality, religion, philosophy, and womens studies. The contemporary voices contained within its pages echo an ancient clarion call to embrace the values of justice with compassion, equality for all people, and transformation.