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Paperback The Limits of Enchantment Book

ISBN: 0743463455

ISBN13: 9780743463454

The Limits of Enchantment

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Book Overview

The story of a young woman in the midlands in 1966. A woman who may be a witch. She and her family live on the margins of society. Nevertheless her family life is stifling and she seeks freedom with... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

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Delightfully Limitless

In his novel "The Limits of Enchantment", Graham Joyce seemingly effortlessly insinuates the manifestation of magic in the everyday world without the need to create an entirely imaginary universe where the laws of classical physics bend and redefine themselves according to rules built solely on the whim of the typical fantasy author. This amalgam of the supernatural with a real point in a timeline (in this case, the pre-moon-landing sixties) positions Joyce on an upper tier of novelists of which few exist----Elizabeth Hand (Mortal Love, Waking the Moon, Black Light) whose clever interventions between folklore characters and mere and haplessly ill-prepared mortals immediately comes to mind as does Keith Donohue whose changeling story in "The Stolen Child" mesmerizes with a similar mix of the inexplicable and the routine. The ability to render a world seen through the somewhat undefined haze of the unexplained while still recounting quotidian events in a thrilling plotline hallmarks Joyce's success as not only a storyteller of great deftness but, a craftsman of almost incomparable skill. Joyce's artistry consumes the reader with an inside look into the angry changing world of twenty-one year old Fern, adopted daughter to Mammy, the village hedgerow medicine woman. Like us all, Fern perceives that which she has become familiar as natural. Women in pre-legal abortion England in 1966 flock to Mammy with their "problems" and with the aid of a herbal concoction and an unexplained knowledge of the ways of the "Mistress", Mammy launches them back into their lives trouble-free after revealing to her the paternity of the unborn child. Over the years the list of fathers has grown substantially providing an insurance of sorts for this herbalist threatened by the advent of socialized medicine and an overall transcendence from the unexplained great mysteries to the rigid science and technology. Even more, the list hedges all of Mammy's bets as with her seventy-seven years of wisdom she understands sadly that true darkness does not lie beneath a waning moon or in adverse interpretations of cosmology but in the hearts of those who have something less than pure to hide and manifest their desires in the form of brutal inhumanity. Sheltered by Mammy's experience, Fern sits on the fence of a proverbial Age of Aquarius, struggling to find some correlation between the sagacity and necessity of secrecy of an older oral tradition most of which Mammy hints to her about but never reveals and the legitimacy of joining the new establishment where science and a degree in midwifery reign supreme in a more departmentalized world. As Joyce telescopes in and out from one definition of the world to the other, we discover that we, too, share Fern's confused perspective. We appreciate Mammy and her knowledge and yet we simultaneously scoff at it. We admire our so-called betters and applaud the accolades of those who achieve degrees of professional success on the establ

Joyce is Magic

Ever since reading The Tooth Fairy, we have looked forward to releases from Graham Joyce. In book after book, Mr. Joyce has found a way to connect us with a world just beyond our senses, a world that we suspect exists in our most primitive brains but perhaps have become too "civilized" to accept anymore. In The Limits of Enchantment, Mr. Joyce tells a tale of modern midwifery (circa late 1960's). Fern is a daughter to Mammy, an elderly midwife whom we might consider a witch. There is a warlock too in an old man named John and many other characters dancing about the shadows who appear to possess or at least believe in hedgerow magic. This isn't a fantasy book though. It's a tale of tough living in small-town England. It's a social tale about class and power and the cycle of life as the reigns are passed down from one generation to the next. Fern is passing into true adulthood and she is unsure of herself, unsure of the way life seems to be pressing itself in on her. She wants to believe in the old ways but she's not sure. She wants to give in to love with a local man, but again she's unsure. This is a powerful book with a few twists and turns to keep the pages flying. Try to read it and not come away looking for ravens in the sky and eyes peeping from a hedge. Try to read it and not feel a true sense of humanity when the end comes. These emotions come whether you want them or not, just as life presses in on Fern no matter how much she'd rather run.

Mesmerizing, Magical, Beautiful Story

This story of Mammy the midwife and Fern, her adopted daughter, grabbed my heart on the first page and didn't let go until just a few minutes ago as I sat sunning in my back yard physically aching that the book had ended. I put the book down, sighed very deeply and contentedly, and immediately decided to purchase the book to keep forever. (I happened upon it at the library.) It's more than the story of an herbalist in the mid-1960's, and it's more than a "fairy story". It's a magical slice out of life, a trip out of this realm into the mystical, wise, unseen realm of "other" that some of us know exists (and have experienced for ourselves), but cannot prove. I'm having trouble finding words to adequately express the beauty, depth and mystery of this one-on-a-kind tale. That it is a book full of mainly female characters written by a male, just makes it all the more enigmatic to me. In short, buy this book, read it, treasure it, share it with your friends and above all, absorb the magnificent wisdom imparted therein. I'd have to say it's one of the very best books I've read this year.

The mystery of life itself

I'm trying to write this without using the word enchanting! I've read Graham Joyce's books before - usually brilliant and sometimes uneven, but this beautifully goes beyond anything he has done. I see a pattern where he's bringing fantasy and reality closer and closer together all the time, and the effect gets more and more explosive. This book simmers everything down to the colors of a quiet English village and yet the hidden elements are massive and universal. You need to be reading this on two levels at the same time. The story itself is simple, but suddenly opens up the treasures of the earth. The guy is a magician. I love Graham Joyce!

Don't wait for the paperback

Another fine novel from Graham Joyce.Well written with well drawn characters.Read this than go back to his earlier masterpieces Smoking Poppy and The Facts of Life.Joyce is one of the best fantasy writers around.No elfs, no dragons, no unicorns, no overused tropes,just great storytelling.
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