Re: RARA-AVIS: The Age of Kafka / Bram Stoker

From: Patrick King (
Date: 26 Jul 2009

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    The girls who learned to read Harry Potter seem to be reading vampires and the zombies. What are the boys reading?


    Not all of them. I'm currently reading THE PHYSIC BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE by 26-year-old Katherine Howe. This is a fairly intelligent story of a grad student looking for original source material for her PHD thesis on colonial America. In her late grandmother's cottage in Marblehead Massachusetts, she discovers reference to Deliverance Dane. A further search of local records indicates that Dane was an apothecary accused of witchcraft a few months before the hysteria on that subject occurred in the nearby town of Salem. There is also reference to an extensive journal that Dane kept of her recipes. This is the only such volume known to be written by a woman in this period so would be a tremendous coupe for the grad student if she can locate it. The book also goes into details about the effect of a conviction on witchcraft charges on a family over generations.

    The characters are a little stiff and one dimensional, but the story and the atmosphere are compelling. Howe is, herself, a descendant of Elizabeth Howe who was hung for witchcraft in Salem in 1692.

    This is a phenomenal first effort by a female member of the Harry Potter generation.

    Patrick King


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