The Sin-eater: A Breviary
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Sin-eater: A Breviary

by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  23 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Argyle eased the warm loaf right and left

and downed swift gulps of beer and venial sin

then lit into the bread now leavened with

the corpse’s cardinal mischiefs, then he said

“Six pence, I’m sorry.” And the widow paid him.



So opens the unsanctioned priesthood of The Sin-eater: A Breviary —Thomas Lynch’s collection of two dozen, twenty-four line poems—a book of hours in the o...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Paraclete Press (first published January 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 61)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Pat Padden
This is a cycle of poems about a man with a singular occupation: in rural (read superstition-riddled) Irish communities, when a person - particularly an unrepentant sinner or one overtaken by sudden deadly calamity and therefore unshriven - dies, a sin-eater is called upon to attend the wake. He is given a bowl of ale, a loaf of bread, and a small payment, in return for which he consumes the ale and the loaf, thereby taking the unconfessed sins of the deceased upon himself and allowing the depar...more
John
Thomas Lynch's The Sin-Eater will make you read poetry. Lynch is a fourth-generation Irish American who has followed the family business; he is a funeral director in a small Michigan town. I read several poems from The Sin-Eater in an issue of Poetry magazine and immediately ordered the book.

There are 24 poems of 24 lines each which follow the life, ruminations, and peregrinations of Argyle, an Irish sin-eater. A sin-eater was an itinerant "funeral worker"; for a fee of six-pence he would eat a...more
Sally Ito
I reviewed this book for Geez magazine recently. It's an interesting insightful book about a folkloric figure known as the sin-eater -- a man who would show up at funerals and/or wakes to eat bread and drink beer over the corpse before disappearing into the night. He essentially would 'eat' the dead person's sin, thus freeing him/her into the afterlife. Lynch has created a fictional sin-eater named Argyle and has written from Argyle's point of view. Poems are solid -- so, too, is the language --...more
Vincent
Loved every line.
Kody
Kody marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2014
Caytlin
Caytlin marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2014
Kate
Kate marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2014
Peter
Peter marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2014
Paul
Paul marked it as to-read
Dec 25, 2013
Bravegirl01
Bravegirl01 marked it as to-read
Dec 25, 2013
Dee Dunckley
Dee Dunckley marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2013
Maureen
Maureen marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2013
Sarah Foradori
Sarah Foradori marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2013
Rebecca Foster
Rebecca Foster marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2013
Sue
Sue marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2013
Mjaffe
Mjaffe marked it as to-read
Aug 06, 2013
Kelli Koeller
Kelli Koeller marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2013
James Haub
James Haub marked it as to-read
May 16, 2013
Tamela
Tamela marked it as to-read
Apr 28, 2013
Tina
Tina marked it as to-read
Feb 22, 2013
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
32121
Thomas Lynch's stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Granta, The Atlantic, Harper’s, the Times (of London, New York, Ireland, and Los Angeles), and elsewhere. The Undertaking was a finalist for the National Book Award; he is also the author of Still Life in Milford, Booking Passage, Apparition & Late Fictions and Walking Papers. Lynch lives in Milford, Michigan, and West Clare, Ireland.
More about Thomas Lynch...
The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade Bodies in Motion and at Rest: On Metaphor and Mortality Apparition & Late Fictions: A Novella and Stories Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans Still Life in Milford: Poems

Share This Book