Now She is Witch: ‘Myth-making at its best‘ Val McDermid

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Now She is Witch: ‘Myth-making at its best‘ Val McDermid

Now She is Witch: ‘Myth-making at its best‘ Val McDermid

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As they travel we get to know Lux’s past and we meet many different and colourful characters who to me felt almost like; ghosts. The realness of all these elements, in conjunction with the magical atmosphere of the setting and prose, made Lux’s story hit home all the harder. This book is mostly dark, tense and somehow claustrophobic, absolutely crammed with atmosphere, and it's pretty much everything I'd like a book with witches in to be.

In rich and immersive prose Kirsty Logan conjures a world of violence and beauty in which women grasp at power through witchcraft and poisons, through sexuality and childbearing, through performance and pretence, and most of all through throwing other women to the wolves.Now She is Witch is a beautiful, atmospheric, resonant tale that follows Lux and Else as they fight to be heard and to tell their own stories. It’s a moment of grace and vindication, one that Logan lets the long-suffering Lux experience utterly, triumphantly alone. I was looking forward to sinking into her newest novel, but I found myself distanced from it throughout. The importance of choice and desire are at the centre of this story, things that these women were either denied or given very little of.

Throughout the book, people retell their stories back to them, twisting them so the women become the villains, seductresses, witches. But there’s something about Kirsty Logan’s writing that seems to transcend the story itself; that reaches into the heart of a deep, dark, hidden history and pulls out a truth that resonates down the ages. In the many stories that fall shrieking from the pages of this brutal, bracing novel, we encounter maidens forced to become mothers and mothers, if they live long enough, punished as witches or scorned as crones.Any who assume agency are swiftly denounced and brutally dealt with: those labelled witches are tied to poles in the sea and left to slowly drown; others guilty of lesser offences (talking too much, too loudly or indeed at all) are paraded around in scold’s bridles, torture devices deployed to humiliate. to the right of their own function and the choice and forge of their own fate and future with their wisdom that comes from the biggest goddess of all; Mother Earth. It was equal parts haunting, whimsical and lyrical prose as it was dark, sensual and full of feminine rage. This is a book where you sit down to review it and end up having to ask yourself, how do I even start to describe it? The mummers sections had a "Midsummer Nights Dream" feel about it, and loved the way that they were a band of waifs and strays.

It’s winter and this play, which tracks a woman’s trajectory from maiden to mother to crone, is a small smudge of light in a grim surround of dark.Whether Logan is describing a dismembered bear whose lopped-off parts are handed out as favours at a banquet, or a gory flagellant’s parade, the images we are offered snap and sizzle with portent and possibility. From the past perspective of lux I found the writing style of no capital letters or full stops really difficult to get through and lost the flow of the book. I truly, truly highly recommend this book to everyone who needs some magic in their life or just a green light to finally be who they are.

The story tells of Lux, alone and suspected of witchcraft after her mother’s death, when she meets the mysterious Else, who may or may not be a real witch. It’s the perfect image – life atop icy precarity; festive warmth upon unforgiving cold – to set the stage for a tale whose protagonist will be confronted by many perilous contrasts. The book also has good dynamics; there are no boring pages; even though the author focused more on the development of the main character, which is one of the reasons why this book is so good. She is beyond salvation and nothing can be done to save her or her soul, that is until one day when Else finds her alone in the woods. What follows is her life’s travels, making her way from a group of vagrant theatre plays, to a final position as the kings food taster, all the while accompanied by a mysterious woman named Else, who she grows closely connected to.

Near the beginning of Kirsty Logan’s fine new novel, a travelling theatre company stages a nocturnal performance on a frozen lake. That’s where this book touched my aching burning forehead and brought me cool relief with its icy long fingers; the only thing I ever have to be; is myself. Her work has been optioned for TV, adapted for stage, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine. I have to admit to now becoming a little tired of novels about witches - but I love was Kirsty has done here.

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  • EAN: 764486781913
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