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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Wordsmith extraordinaire Kirsty Logan has written what is possibly her best novel yet in a tale that feels as old as the hills but sparkles with formal inventiveness. I must admit that I skipped through Lux's story part of the book as to me it didn't flow very well, a very different writing style.

But the one that I felt in my bones every time when she said; ‘If the owl is screeching under your window it means somebody is going to die.The chapters were perfect length-wise for me; someone who always checks where the end is when I start to read a new chapter. It’s also about ghosts, grief, poisons and nature, motherhood, love in all its different forms and learning to trust in life again.

The reason for a reading slump or a more serious writing block is the inner blockage that I can’t pump out of my system.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. This beautifully, dark story sees Lux go through her darkest moments, with parts of the novel being written with no punctuation, as Lux talks to Else about her past, her trauma and what led her to where she was at the beginning of the book. Although Logan’s style may not be for everyone, there’s no denying her incredible skill as an author. A slow burning, sinister tale of witchcraft and wise women, with complex, powerful, female characters.

Now She Is Witch is part historical, part fantasy, an entwined mix of the two genres, such that you find yourself not quite sure. In this witch story unlike any other, Lux and Else join forces to take their revenge on a powerful man.

It's a dark story, and some truly vile and horrible things happen to the women in this book, but it never strays into gender-essentialist territory, which is what I usually loathe about those witchy feminist stories. It was equal parts haunting, whimsical and lyrical prose as it was dark, sensual and full of feminine rage. 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.

The plot was so compelling, the pacing perfect, it just flowed beautifully, exactly what I’d expect from Kirsty Logan and her skilful writing. As a lover of witches, female rage, revenge murder, gender neutrality, matriarchy, and the word ‘cunt,’ this was good as hell. It’s little wonder that for a time Lux, who as the novel progresses becomes in turn an actor on a frozen stage, a servant in a hall of delicacies, a food-taster to a lord and companion to a fine lady, is tempted to turn her back on Else’s revenge and set her own dreams of finding freedom in the wild country aside.

The synopsis of the story is fairly straightforward -- Luz, a young woman, thrown from a monastery she never chose to go to, is chased out of her hometown by odious townsfolk accusing her of witchcraft. 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. From the snowy winter woods to the bright midnight sun; from the horrors of plague to the relief of healing; from lost and powerless to finding your path, Now She is Witch questions the oppositions that shadow our lives.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
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