Fear and Midwifery in the East Midlands,
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This review is from: The Limits of Enchantment: A Novel (Paperback)
A bellarmine jar of witchery-pokery, this was a pleasant surprise. Joyce has been on my radar for a while, but I've only got around to reading one of his award-winning oeuvre. This is an enchanting tale of village witchcraft - set in an amusingly prosaic paradigm - fear and midwifery in the East Midlands. The novelist's genius is that he both manages to deconstruct and re-enchant 'the Craft' - hedging his bets with psychological realism and intriguing 'moments' of mystery. Setting it in the Sixties (an iconic and iconoclastic time of pop culture magic) enhances the effect - a sense one could still capture the last glimmers of a fading way of life - an evanescence like a slow sunset of dirty fire. Joyce has a deceptively 'light' style which makes for an easy, amusing read. He is a master of his art - creating complex, distinctive characters, crisp dialogue, a cunning plot, and a real magic rarely found in 'Fantasy' books. This is a book with mud on its boots and dirt under its fingernails - combining the earthiness of this authentic microcosm with miniskirts, trippy hippies, small-minded provincial life, and obscure local customs, this makes for a charming read.