HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

El Fin De Mi Vida/ the Limits of Enchantment…
Loading...

El Fin De Mi Vida/ the Limits of Enchantment (Spanish Edition) (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Graham Joyce

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2221452,362 (3.82)29
Member:imation8
Title:El Fin De Mi Vida/ the Limits of Enchantment (Spanish Edition)
Authors:Graham Joyce
Info:
Collections:Your library, Leído
Rating:*1/2
Tags:None

Work details

The Limits of Enchantment by Graham Joyce (2005)

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 29 mentions

English (13)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I came to this book not long after reading the same author's 'The Facts of Life', and at first I thought that there might be some connection between the two stories. In 'The Facts of Life', one of the protagonists, fey Cassie Vine, gave away an unwanted illegitimate girl child in that book's back story, in Coventry in about 1939-40; in this book, the protagonist is Fern Cullen, who is in her twenties in 1966 but who was adopted by Mammy Cullen, is being brought up in the ways of wise women, has no formal record of her birth (and so might be the odd year or so older than we are led to believe), and, perhaps most importantly for this hypothesis, lives in rural Leicestershire, not a million miles from Coventry.

Ultimately, we find that this hypothesis has nothing to support it, even though the evidence in the book of Fern's origin is purely circumstantial; but the exploration of that possibility made for an interesting narrative hook.

The novel is about Fern, her relationship with her adoptive mother, Mammy Cullen, and her induction into the ways of folk medicine and its particular application to birth and conception, and sometimes the prevention of those things. But it is 1966, times are changing, and the old ways are under threat from both the march of modernisation on the one hand - the NHS, now nearly 20 years old and establishing itself as the sole arbiter of what is acceptable medicine and what is not, and with radical new technologies (ultrasound scans) on the horizon that will make the old ways seem arbitrary and old-fashioned - and the rearguard actions of the Establishment on the other in trying to perpetuate traditional feudal relationships in the face of alternative lifestyles new and old.

The setting for the book, rural eastern Leicestershire, is well depicted. It is still today a rather hilly and isolated area, and it is easy to imagine old traditions surviving in such an area. Graham Joyce looked deeply into the old ways and reflected many of them in this book. The climax of the book is a traditional football match between the villages of Hallaton and Medbourne (both of which exist); this is not football as most people will know it, but rather a more traditional form of institutionalised warfare between two village teams, fought out over a large tract of land, with little in the way of rules and with an annual toll of injuries. Similar football matches can be found on Shrove Tuesday at places such as Ashbourne in Derbyshire and Atherstone in Warwickshire. In the novel, the villagers use the football match as a pretext for taking their revenge on certain people who had been conspiring against Fern; and for me, this was where the novel, which up to that point had been a fairly static if well-drawn picture of Fern, the characters she meets and the folk rituals she carries out, came to life.

Although the time of the novel is 1966, I know from my own experience that the "Swinging Sixties" took quite some time to penetrate some of the more rural corners of England; and some of the characters and situations seem a little more reminiscent of D.H.Lawrence and the inter-war years than the late 20th century. But that is how it was. And the arrival of a hippy commune in the village does little to change that view, even as the very presence of the commune offers another challenge to to Establishment.

Ultimately, this book didn't engage me as viscerally as 'The Facts of Life', but nonetheless it is a good picture of a particular time and place. ( )
1 vote RobertDay | May 16, 2016 |
I recently read Joyce's 'The Silent Land' and said, "Why haven't I read any of this author's work before?" I still don't know! I picked this up next - and it's even better than 'The Silent Land.'

Set in the 1960's, in rural England, it deftly draws the strange line of culture clash between old-fashioned ways of life and the incursion of the modern world.
The protagonist is a young woman, apprentice to a traditional midwife. Her learning has been herb-lore and beliefs called superstition, and although she has her loyal customers, business is hurting now that pre-natal care is provided by the National Health Service.
The traditional midwife also provides abortions, though...
And when a young woman dies, tensions in the village come to a head...

Things aren't helped by the commune of free-love hippies who've taken over the adjoining farm, and are also regarded with deep suspicion by most of the villages.

What unfolds is a tale that, yes, is on the edge of fantasy, containing magic and the unexplained, but is first and foremost a tale of people, beliefs, and ways of life.

I absolutely loved it. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Set in the 1960s in a rural village in England, “The Limits of Enchantment” is the story of Fern, a teenage girl who has learned midwifery and herbal medicine from Mammy, the woman who raised her. When one of Mammy’s cases turns out badly, the village turns against her and she ends up hospitalized after being attacked. Fern, who has been utterly dependent on Mammy, must learn who she is, both as a woman and as a witch.

Fern is naïve and socially awkward and it is a fascinating to read about her stumbling journey into adulthood. The author makes a compelling observation about how the changes in culture are encroaching on “the old ways,” most notably in the clash between modern medicine and the methods Fern has learned from Mammy. Midwifery has been brought under legislation, and practioners are required to obtain a license from the government. Fern struggles to accept this, while also clinging to the more mystical lifestyle she learned from Mammy.

I had two problems with this book. First, there is very little plot development. I finished the book with the feeling that I was still waiting for something to happen. Second, I don’t understand why this is classified as fantasy or why it was nominated for the World Fantasy Award. It comes down to a question of whether one believes witchcraft is real or unreal. Witchery as practiced by Fern and Mammy is a way of life embraced by many, including people I know, so I had difficulty accepting this book as fantasy and felt the book did not deliver what was promised.

Despite my disappointment with “The Limits of Enchantment,” I did come away from the book with a sense that the author is talented, so I plan to read some of his other work. ( )
  Her_Royal_Orangeness | Jul 18, 2013 |
Turned out to be a rather ho-hum read. An orphan, Fern, brought up by an herbalist in a little village learns that life is rife with prejudice against all who might be different. She continues to help some of the villagers with herbal cures and potions, and even takes a course in midwifery in her attempt to gain a certificate that will allow her to legally practice what she's already helped her Mammy on on multiple occasions.

When Mammy is taken to the hospital, Fern has to learn who to trust, who to avoid, who her friends and enemies are, and more importantly ... figure out if she has the 'calling' or if she's going crazy.

I thought this a rather choppy read and I was tempted to chuck it a few times. ( )
  cameling | Nov 15, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743463455, Paperback)

Graham Joyce

tells the story of two extraordinary women -- one who was born ahead of her time, the other whose coming-of-age coincided with a time of great change.

The Limits of Enchantment

England, 1966: Everything Fern Cullen knows she's learned from Mammy -- and none of it's conventional. Taught midwifery at an early age, Fern becomes Mammy's trusted assistant in a quaint rural village and learns through experience that secrets are precious, passion is dangerous, and people should mind their own business.

But when one of Mammy's patients allegedly dies from an induced abortion, the town rallies against her. As Fern struggles to save Mammy's good name, she finds communion with a bunch of hippies living at a nearby estate...where she uncovers a legacy spotted with magic -- one that transforms her forever.

A tale of alchemy and tragedy, magic and truth, Joyce's The Limits of Enchantment is a powerful blend of literature and fantasy from a master of the genre.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Everything Fern Cullen knows she's learned from her Mammy - and none of it's conventional. Taught midwifery at an early age, Fern grows up as Mammy's trusted assistant in a small English village and learns through experience that secrets are precious, men can't be trusted, hippies are filthy and people should generally mind their own business." "But when one of Mammy's patients allegedly dies from a potion prescribed to induce abortion, the town's people rally against her outdated methods, and Mammy ends up hospitalized, due to a bad fall and a broken heart. Now the county is threatening eviction if Fern can't come up with the overdue rent, and a bunch of hippies and a woman with hoop earrings with a mysterious connection to Mammy seem to be the only people with any answers. As Fern struggles to save her home and Mammy's good name, everything around her begins to transform, and she soon uncovers a legacy spotted with magic." "The Limits of Enchantment is at once a story of two women: one with a deep past and one who finds her history in the other. It is a tale of midwifery, alchemy, magic, truth and identity."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
62 wanted4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.82)
0.5
1 1
1.5 2
2 6
2.5 2
3 7
3.5 6
4 21
4.5 5
5 18

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 106,849,228 books! | Top bar: Always visible