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Hunger's Brides

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  115 ratings  ·  28 reviews
An epic novel of genius and obsession — apocalyptic, lyrical and erotically charged. Spanning three centuries and two cultures, Hunger’s Brides brings to vivid life the greatest Spanish poet of her time, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and plumbs a mystery that has intrigued writers as diverse as Robert Graves, Diane Ackerman, Eduardo Galeano and Nobel laureate Octavio Paz. Why ...more
Paperback, 1376 pages
Published July 27th 2011 by Vintage Canada (first published 2004)
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Nov 06, 2007 Katherine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Mexican history, poetry, women's rights, and willing to heft a 50-pound tome.
A huge doorstopper of a book. A disgraced Calgary academic digs through the papers of his former student/lover, uncovering the tale of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a seventeenth-century Mexican nun, poet, writer, and early feminist, who abruptly signed a vow of silence and died helping plague victims. (The nun is real. The academic and his student, one devoutly hopes, are fictional.) Complex and engrossing, with neat postmodern footnotes.
Jade Metzger
so thick. so detailed. so disturbing.

I'm an avid lover of the history and poetry of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz.

The imagery is vivid and the connections/parallelisms made is excruciating but tenderly described.

I've literally never read a book like it. I would pick it up, read through parts of it, and put it down. I've ripped out poems (translated and put in the book) and put them on my walls.

Good book, but its not an easy read.
Mar 13, 2009 Patrick is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: currently-own
Difficult reading. I've put it down for now to read other things I've place higher on my 'to read' list. I think I'll not finish this until I get my Kindle because its such a large book its cumbersome to read.
The story can be quite engrossing at points, but it is this amazingly panoramic description of all the details of an era and culture that are unfamiliar to me, so that makes it difficult to digest quickly.
Eugenia O'Neal
The word 'magisterial' is more often used when referring to non-fiction works of great scope and comprehensiveness but it totally fits Hunger's Brides. Anderson weaves together past and present in this novel about Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, the real-life brilliant poet-scientist-philosopher who lived in 17th century Mexico, and ran afoul of the Inquisition and the leaders of the Church who were confounded by the intelligence of this "weaker vessel." In a time when women were not expected to be m ...more
Todd Stockslager
Not just a waste of paper, a 1,325-page waste of paper! Somewhere in here was an OK 400-page historical novel about Juana Inez de la Cruz, a 17th century Mexican nun who was considered by some (according to the book flap) "the greatest writer working in any European tongue". She was born in Mexico and never left, despite reading and writing extensively in Latin about Roman, Greek, and Egyptian classics. Her ideas kept her in trouble with the Inquisition through must of her adult life, which she ...more
Massive, a giant doorstop of a book but utterly hypnotic. There's two narrative threads, a modern-day tale of manuscripts and academics, the other the story of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a scholar and poet in the early years of post-conquest America. Her story is more fascinating than the modern one and, indeed, author Anderson has recognized that reissuing the book stripped of the modern narrative. Nevertheless I loved it but for fans of the long read only.
I read a lot. Big books, small books, it doesn't matter; I read fast so I'll just finish them and move onto the next. I received this one as a birthday gift in February and I found it so not engrossing that I put it down periodically and read 3 others in between periods of just not wanting to read it. The only reasons that I did finish it was because I'm the type of person who can't leave a book unfinished and it was a gift from my husband.
Oct 15, 2009 Sam added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sam by: New York Times Book Review
Shelves: bailed
I've been trying to get through this tome of a book for a few years now. It's sad really.
This was one of the most amazing books I have ever read. It is about 1500 pages long. The author won Canada's top literature award for his effort and it was well deserved. I hope someday, maybe in retirement, to be able to slowly read it again and to research and follow up on all of the historical and mythological allusions.
Joseph Levesque
What an impressive novel, made all the more so when you realize that this is Paul Anderson's debut. I enjoyed this book so much that the number of pages just flew by.

The story: compelling and forward-moving.
The language: EDIBLE! Such beautiful imagery.
The characters: flawed, well-drawn and realistic.

I loved it. I know that this would not be a novel for everyone. The sheer size of it is very daunting. But if you love things Baroque, aren't araid o a little challenge and have a little time on you
I first want to say that this book is also a fine example of contemporary book printing. Truly, the only thing missing from this book is a colophon. At 1360 pages, it is still a pleasure to hold. The paper is satin smooth, the text block perfectly crisp.

I freely admit I did not finish this book before my renewals ran out and the fall semester began, but it is one I will check out again, fall or holiday break, to immerse in again. At present, I cannot do justice to a description, much less a revi
I only kind of enjoyed the little of this book that I read. The premise is intriguing and the writing has moments of beauty, but it's a bit of a slog! The story jumps between three different time periods, multiple characters, lucid writing, poetry and stream of consciousness journal entries (a writing style I have never enjoyed). I believe life is too short to read bad books (or annoying books), so I'm putting this one aside for now.
I picked this book up several months ago and tried to read it. I admit that I was not very focused on it and was reading another "Lighter" read at the time. I put it down and just picked up last night. Already it is a bit hard to follow. I will read this on the plane and while I am in Florida.

It's a very descriptive book and I like that in my reads.
Sep 15, 2008 Carla marked it as tried-but-couldn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
I did get started on this, but this book is oppressively heavy, I couldn't cart it around on my recent business trips therefore it got left behind. Now I've started another book, so I'll have to finish that before I come back here. I just can't deal with multiple story lines, it's like trying to watch two movies at the same time, I just can't do it!
Very Long. The history of 17th Century Mexico was interesting. The author wove a modern day mystery of a college professor who was supposed to have written the book. I skipped over these parts - which were about 1/3 of the book. I would not read it again but will pursue this time period for more information.
This is one of my favourite books - I have read it twice now and will probably read it again in a few years! The characters and imagery are endlessly fascinating. The poetry is beautiful.
I have read it three times now. still wonderful. it would be amazing to have a book of her poetry alone
it's the end of the summer and I give up! I read the first five hundred pages before having to skim through it. I know I was obsessed about Sor Juana; but I couldn't make it through this larger tome of her life (or how it was imagined anyway). Maybe I can carefully read it next summer!
Rodney Boynton
I've started to read this book a few times now and I really want to be interested. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz sounds like a truly amazing woman who I would really like to learn more about. At this point in time, though, I am finding it to be just too daunting to take on.
Don't bother. As I originally suspected, this book needs some serious editing. When I realized I was on p. 500 and there was no purpose, no hook, no reason to continue, I was FURIOUS!
Starts off as a fascinating and insightful look into the life and character of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, but after a bit it becomes very impressionistic and looses focus. I lost interest.
Kathleen McRae
I actually did not quite finish this book .It had some good parts but then would meander off to something else and I found myself having to go back and reorient . It defeated me
Nov 26, 2008 Linda marked it as started-then-set-aside  ·  review of another edition
i've only read a chapter of this and even at 1358 pages, it is completely engrossing, the language beautiful and the subject (Sor Juana) utterly fascinating.
Maclaine Coles
Probably one of the most challenging books to read. Over all a very intriguing story with lots of background to really understand the characters.
Jennifer Sigman
This is going to take a second reading to really absorb. There were parts I simply could not read because of their painful honesty.
Fascinating historical fiction, even if I practically got carpal tunnel holding the book open for the time it took to read it.
One of the only LONG books I have struggled to finish, worth it but DENSE with arcane cosmological discussion.
Rose Megery
Oct 16, 2011 Rose Megery is currently reading it
Picked this up at the Dollar Tree. Looked interesting. I'll let you know how it is.
Very long and dragging at times but worth the effort.
Karmen marked it as to-read
Nov 23, 2015
Travis marked it as to-read
Nov 18, 2015
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Anderson left Canada in his early twenties and spent fifteen years travelling in Asia, studying in Europe, teaching in Latin America, along the way logging 25,000 miles of coastal and ocean sailing, having twice crossed the Atlantic as a delivery sailor, and has partnered in a sailing charter operation in the Caribbean. He has worked as a deckhand in Monte Carlo, fruit picker in Switzerland and co ...more
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