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El Fin De Mi Vida/ the Limits of Enchantment…

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

by Graham Joyce

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Title:El Fin De Mi Vida/ the Limits of Enchantment (Spanish Edition)
Authors:Graham Joyce
Collections:Your library, Leído

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The Limits of Enchantment by Graham Joyce (2005)


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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 |
This is a very interesting book, which is hard to characterise. It's the mid-1960s, and Britain is changing. This book focuses on one of the changes which has been chewed over less than most others - increasing bureaucratisation/standardisation of life. Oh dear, that sounds incredibly dull, but it is anything but!

Fern is the daughter of a hedgerow healer and traditional midwife, Mammy Cullen. With the arrival of the NHS - and especially, free and formally-trained midwives for every pregnant woman - some of her work has dried up, although there are folk who still trust the old ways. Mammy may also be a witch ("we few"). When Mammy takes to her sickbed after a treatment apparently goes wrong, Fern knows that she has to make a decision - to follow the old, traditional ways, or to fit in with the new. But there are obstacles on both sides as well as benefits - the old feudalistic snobbery and the new uncaring bureaucracy.

A good read. ( )
  wandering_star | Jun 2, 2010 |
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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)

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