Madapple by Christina Meldrum

This was one of the craziest books I have ever listened to…  Not only because it kept going back and forth between the past and present — but also because it kept going in and out of Aslaug’s delusions.  According to her mother, Aslaug’s was a virgin birth.  Since Aslaug has never really known anyone except her mother, and since she and her mother lived an unusual lifestyle — one without electricity or indoor plumbing, even though it was available to them, for example — she didn’t really know what to do when her mother died.

Aslaug ended up leaving home and trying to find some relatives in a nearby town, but that was not the end of the strangeness.  Her aunt, Sara, takes her in and welcomes her into their fundamentalist Pentacostal church.  Her cousin, Susanna (“Sana”), introduces her to all of her mother’s books and notes about religion, mythology, and virginal births.  And her other cousin, Rune, awakens Aslaug’s inner desires for love and companionship, while even arousing her budding sexuality.

When Aslaug, herself, becomes pregnant, Sana is convinced that Aslaug’s pregnancy is “supernatural.”  Sana and Sara decide that Aslaug’s baby is the return of the messiah and that they must prepare this child to be a prophet.  After Sana and Sara turn up dead inside of the burning church, though, Aslaug ends up on trial for a double homicide.  No one seems to believe Aslaug’s innocence, nor do they believe any of the rest of her wild story.  But, how much of it can really be the truth, anyhow?  And, if and when the truth is finally discovered, will it set her free or will it merely convince the rest of society that she is mad?

Amazingly captivating…  Had I been reading the actual book, I can imagine that I would have been up all night to finish it (since I rarely wanted to turn off my car when I arrived at my destination).

Happy Reading!

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