Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Last Witchfinder, James Morrow

The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow is highly praised by readers.

The Last Witchfinder, James Morrow

For example, at Amazon:

Shipwrecks, kidnappings, witch trials, illegitimate children, jars full of deformed creatures, humorous night-time encounters with Isaac Newton -- what's not to like?

 The Last Witchfinder covers thousands of miles in space and decades in time, deftly considers slavery, electricity, the spread of the Enlightenment and the battle between reason and science, and wraps it all up in a story that made me stay up late several nights in succession.

 I'd never read a word by Morrow before this book, and if the rest of his novels are like this one I'm going to read them all.

First of all, let may share my shock that there are not hundreds of Amazon reviews singing the praises of this delightful book to the heavens.

For anyone unfamiliar with James Morrow's wildly inventive mind, the opening chapters of THE LAST WITCHFINDER are an audacious revelation. Such brio! Such wit!

 And with his novel's frankly amazing conceit (it sounds ridiculous in synopsis, but basically, books can write books). I, jaded reader that I am, will confess to being a bit enraptured with this tome.

While no writer, Morrow included, could possibly have kept up the astounding level of quality of his opening, THE LAST WITCHFINDER still stands as a paragon of whimsical and instructive historical fiction.

 I have no interest in reprising its plot; in fact, I am still in a bit of a funk at the injustice of this book seemingly garnering so little attention.

James Morrow (born 1947) is a fiction author. A self-described "scientific humanist", his work satirises organized religion and elements of humanism and atheism. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania with his wife, Kathryn Smith Morrow, his son, Christopher, and their dogs.

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