Conjure Wife

Conjure WifeFritz Leiber is an absolute pleasure to read The narrative moves on at such a fast clip that you will miss the beauty of the language and the craft of the writer unless you purposefully take time to savour it like the beauty of the countryside is wasted on an impatient traveller seated in a fast train He is that rare thing, a literary fantasy writer who is exciting as well.Leiber s plots are always unique and this short novel is no exception Norman Saylor and his beautiful young wife Tansy are residents of a small academic township in America, in whose college Norman is a professor He is unconventional and disliked by the college s conservative intelligentsia, but has still somehow managed to climb to the top Tansy, looked down upon by the professors prim wives, has also managed to survive and become quite popular Norman is happy about it, a bit too pleased with himself, one can say we meet him at the beginning of the novel in a moment of perfect contentment which feels too good to be real, and which he feels must pass, as such moments are too good to last.It does as he steps into his wife s dressing room on a whimsy and goes randomly through her drawers, and discovers that she is a witch.Norman is aghast and so is Tansy that her secret is discovered however, he manages to convince her that it is just a temporary aberration and persuades her to destroy her charms But this proves to be disastrous, as all the other professors wives are also witches, see and it is only Tansy s protective magic which has kept Norman s career, and even life, safe As he faces imminent annihilation, Tansy takes the curse upon herself and now it is up to Norman to save her and normalcy in a desperate race against time College politics is extremely spiteful and petty, and surprisingly passionate for the people who indulge in it The Masters by C P Snow is classic case in point Leiber highlights the cruelty and pettiness by juxtaposing conjure magic on to it The hatred that the liberals Tansy and Norman engender in the straitlaced academic society is very real even now if the conservatives had access to black magic, no doubt they would use it any time And the pseudo gothic architecture makes the perfect setting for reality to suddenly come apart at the seams just look at those gargoylesHowever, a fantastic first half was spoilt for me, in a way, by the rather predictable second half To be fair to Leiber, he wrote this book in 1943, so it must have been fresh then but it has since then been the staple of countless fantasy and horror novels, this race against time to lift a curse Also, the long discourse on magic towards the last quarter was a trifle snooze inducing.3.5 stars, not quite reaching 4. Rating 3.5 of 5Everyone knows the saying, Behind every great man, there s a great woman Well, in Conjure Wife, the great woman is a witch, and her great man doesn t know that And it s worldwide all women are witches, and they either know of or practice witchcraft.Here s the gist One day, feeling good and taking a moment to reflect on his life, Norman Saylor, a professor of sociology at Hempnell College, begins to ponder his successes, one of which he considers his wife, Tansy How did I get so luckyNorman wonders How did Tansy fare so well as a professor s wifeThose questions prompt Norman to snoop through his wife s closet and drawers And what should he discover The tell tale signs of someone dabbling in conjure magic He s shocked If he had ever wondered about Tansy and superstitions at all, it had only been to decide, with a touch of self congratulation, that for a woman she was almost oddly free from irrationality p 22.A confrontation with Tansy ensues, turns into a nearly four hour long discussion, at the end of which Norman demands Tansy stop her neurotic behavior at once Tansy reluctantly agrees after all, she was only ever doing magic to protect Norman.That s when the unlucky coincidences begin piling up on Norman threats from an expelled student charges of a sexual relationship with a female student scrutiny of his personal life and friends by the college s trustees, and on and on The coincidences culminate with the disappearance of his wife.But to rescue Tansy, Norman will have to practice a little conjure magic himself The problem is, of course, he finds the whole idea ridiculous Will Norman save Tansy If he does, what will be the implications The consequences Here are my two cents The sexism, oh the sexism Because Conjure Wife is told in a limited third person narrative, Norman Saylor could make or break the story After reading a couple chapters of his thoughts, I feared I may not be able to finish In fact, I forced myself to remember the setting 40s 50s and cut Norman some slack for his stereotypical, insensitive, often laughable assessments of people, especially women For example, see the above quote from page 22 in addition to the below in a similar situation would he have dared try reasoned argument on any other woman p 31.Once I decided to ignore that part of Norman s personality, I realized he still wasn t very likeable But it was interesting to see the world through Norman s eyes, especially when he filtered everything through the rules of science Although, I ll admit, it did get a tad annoying to have him go back and forth, back and forth And even to go so far as to see if there was a mathematical formula for spells.I liked Tansy, though, and the premise was an interesting one.But it s not really new, is it Men throughout history have feared woman Suspected her of being connected to some secret force, nature, even the Devil Possibly in a conspiratorial capacity with other women Wondered about her intuition Faulted her for beingemotional than man It s inherent for most, fearing what we do not understand.However, I don t think fear of witchcraft or even a secret alliance among women was Norman s deepest fear I think what he most feared was not really knowing his wife That he could live with someone for so many years I believe it was 15 years they d been together trust her, think he had her all figured out, only to discover she wasn t exactly who he imagined Hell, that s scary for anyone in a relationship.He looked at her, trying to comprehend it It was almost impossible to take at one gulp the realization that in the mind of this trim modern creature he had known in completest intimacy, there was a whole great area he had never dreamed of p.21 22.Once I saw that Norman did, in fact, love his wife, it was easier for me to sit back and enjoy the story He used science the way many people use religion a way to make sense of or cope with all the craziness, all the chaos, that is life A constant in the ever shifting variables And, for most, it s an unshakeable, unchangeable belief system.Here s what you might not like about Conjure Wife Sexism Racism The protagonist Norman Norman s always on scientific filter Not urban fantasy as boasted on this edition s cover Falls under psychological or literary horror there s nothing overtly scary or goryFinal thoughtsWhile its horror elements are mild and slow building, Conjure Wife is most frightening for what s going on below the surface rather than its stated premise I recommend it to fans of the slow burn style of supernatural horror, who are willing to overlook the hopefully outdated viewpoints and plan to take the time to think about the story once they close the book Note This review was originally published on my blog, Unleash the Flying Monkeys When Norman Saylor discovers that his wife Tansy has been dabbling in witchcraft he demands that she cease all witchy activity and then demands that she remove all of her protective spells placed upon their home.This is a mistake Norman will soon live to regret as his comfortable life begins to unravel See, it seems that Tansy wasn t the only one practicing witchcraft and the grasping wives of Norman s colleagues at the college have been practicing as well Now, what with the protections ceasing to exist, the Saylor s are wide open to dangerous forces that do not wish them well Initially I found this book very interesting and it pleasantly reminded me of those old black and white creepy movies I used watch during my childhood Sadly, as I continued to read I somehow lost my way and found it difficult to maintain my enthusiasm to turn the pages The story mainly consists of Norman s internal monologue and his attempt to find a solution to the heart rending predicament in which he finds himself Maybe it was my mood, maybe it was the dated feel of the story or maybe it was the format but I found the book a tad too slow moving and too easy to put down Though it was exceptionally creepy at times it just didn t click with me. 2013 ,, ,, , , ,,, ,,, , ,, ,, , ,Locus 7,, . Norman Saylor Considered Witchcraft Nothing But Quaint Superstition Until He Learned His Own Wife Was A Practising Sorceress Even Then, He Still Refused To Accept The Truth One That Every Woman Knows But No Man Dares To Believe That In The Secret Occult Warfare That Governs Our Everyday Lives, Witchcraft Is A Matter Of Life And Death Conjure Wife Is A Masterpiece Of Witchcraft And Dark Fantasy And The Source Of The Classic Horror Film Burn Witch Burn This was a fun novel about a witch.The professor of a small college discovers that his wife is practicing magic.He s disgusted that his wife, superstitious and flighty as she is, would do such a thing and orders her to immediately discontinue her practices.Unfortunately, he does not consider that there could have been benefits associated with her charms.I enjoyed the book very much despite the prejudices against women Since this book was published in the 50 s, I guess that type of thing is par for the course.All in all, I enjoyed the prose, the story and the ending. This was an interesting and attention holding book, with a strange little hook The idea here is that all women are really part of a worldwide seemingly sorority They re all witches.A little disturbing for a guy to read.However I liked it quite a lot It caused me to read Our Lady of Darknessacomplex book , but with an inferior story I believe This one is just better story telling.I found the story catching me quickly and pulling me along toward the climax Imaginative and an original idea. somewhere between 4 and 5, but this is one hell of a good novel before Matthew knocks on our door and while we still have power I figured I d post about this book I did a flip flop on this one, and watched the movie prior to reading the novel, but I can tell you that the movie follows the book pretty closely Norman Saylor is a professor of sociology who finds himself caught up in supernatural forces that he s built a career denying Norman teaches sociology at a small university,specifically, his work centers on the parallelisms of primitive superstition and modern neurosis, even coming up with a book about it He believes that magic is just a product of superstition in short he doesn t believe in it However, his wife Tansy does, and has been, unknown to Norman, putting up protective magical shields to keep Norman safe from a trio of women who see him as a threat to their own interests When Norman discovers that Tansy s been doing this, he makes her get rid of everything, and that s when all of the trouble begins Suddenly things start taking a turn for the worse, but level headed Norman tries to rationalize every weird occurrence until he can no longer afford to do so.Super book, and really, anyone who loves older supernatural novels should read this it s still quite relevant, masterfully written, and just downright scary. I read this out of the Dark Ladies Conjure Wife Our Lady of Darkness duology, but I wanted to jot down my thoughts separately for this one before I finish the volume.I found the writing clever I was transplanted into the cutthroat world of college politics Who knew that the wives could be just as fierce as their faculty husbands And that they would resort to sorcery and witchcraft to keep their husbands and themselves by relation in power Things get pretty nasty I think that there is some very interesting commentary about male and female relationships here That old Venus Versus Mars argument I felt at first that Norman was a rampant sexist in a way that is very common even today He had a superior attitude towards his wife, while simultaneously being in awe of her at the same time He seemed to view her as an alien creature, constantly analyzing the way her mind worked, as if it was so different from his I liked how his feelings of mental superiority over her backfired when he realized that she was in fact the one who was right about what was really going on, and how he had to rely on her knowledge of the situation I liked how things turned around and it was clear how much he did care for his wife How he fought for her well being, willingly putting aside his hard headed scientific skeptical thought processes to save her.I feel that there is a heavy tone of satire cleverly mixed in with well executed psychological horror Norman s internal dialogue engenders a tone that is analytical and observational although he doesn t seem to be as observant as one would think for a sociologist , wry and sarcastic at other times and quite laden with a menace that sneaks up on the reader At first, I found him to be a bit of a pompous twit I admit I can t stand when men treat women like their brains and mental capacities are limited But I couldn t stay angry at him He learned the hard way not to underestimate women, particularly his own wife I think in this, Leiber is making a point For all the men did have a tendency to view their spouses through a skewed lens, not realizing just how much power the women truly had in their lives and over them Leiber seems to throw sexist ideas out with a wink and a nod, as if he expects the readers to reject those thoughts, or perhaps to poke fun at those who believe what he s saying My take, anyway.I wonder what the reception was to this book in the 1940s The ideas of male female relations are probing and insightful in a way that seems a bit subversive But what do I know At any rate, I liked this story very much It s beautifully subtle in the slow building of menace and fear, and the ideas about society seem to be relevant today in how men and women and spouses relate to and view each other Also it speaks to the often venomous way that women can sometimes turn against each other, belying what some including myself naively believe about the sisterhood of women On the horror level, the truly heinous and scary nature of witchcraft used as a tool for power and control is enough to send a shiver down my spine It makes you wonder just how much witchcraft may be going on behind the scenes today.Overall rating 4.25 5.0 stars. I can see where this one would be and should be considered a classic It s hard to believe it was penned in 1943 as it stands up extremely well You can see the influence Fritz Leiber has had on many of today s modern horror authors Well done 3.5 Stars

Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr was one of the interesting of the young writers who came into HP Lovecraft s orbit, and some of his best early short fiction is horror rather than sf or fantasy He found his mature voice early in the first of the sword and sorcery adventures featuring the large sensitive barbarian Fafhrd and the small street smart ish Gray Mouser he returned to this series at variou

❰KINDLE❯ ❆ Conjure Wife Author Fritz Leiber –
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 210 pages
  • Conjure Wife
  • Fritz Leiber
  • English
  • 20 June 2018
  • 9780441117123

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