Folklore, intrigue and foreign customs all combine in this story from Mingmei Yip. Please read on for my review of
The Witch’s Market
Straddling the divide between two cultures, Eileen Chen’s specialty is Folk Religions. Eileen is most certainly a Chinese American woman, dismissing the beliefs of her grandmother, a shamaness as superstitious nonsense. But her dissection of the foundations of each belief she encounters, and her rather observational approach to the life around her left her a character that stayed at arm’s length throughout the story.
That remove, however, did not diminish my overall interest in the stories and tales, the superstitions and their origins, and the beauty with which Yip detailed the scenery, and her ability to present a belief in many ways. Eileen’s need to find the ‘cause’, the ‘bone-deep’ belief held by those she studies, and those things that just seemingly have no real explanation.
With Eileen’s research trip to the Canary Islands for a research project, she leaves behind the familiar, and begins to engage in that new world, her own beliefs are questioned as she starts to see that not everything has an answer.
I would have liked to see more of Eileen’s growth and some of the self-doubt that must have assaulted her with all of the newness she is discovering, and her own new-found determination to become a witch herself. The remove that we feel from Eileen does have a sense of “Alice down the rabbit hole’ to it – perhaps the author hoped to bring that untethered to reality sense to her in the journey- something to decide for yourself. Overall, this was an intriguing, if slow-paced story that kept me interested in trying to discover just where Eileen would go next.
Title: The Witch's Market
Author: Mingmei Yip
Genre: Chinese, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Multi-Cultural, Witches
Published by: Kensington
Published on: 24 November 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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From the author of Secret of a Thousand Beauties and Peach Blossom Pavilion comes a beautifully written novel of self-discovery and intrigue.
Chinese-American assistant professor Eileen Chen specializes in folk religion at her San Francisco college. Though her grandmother made her living as a shamaness, Eileen publicly dismisses witchcraft as mere superstition. Yet privately, the subject intrigues her.
When a research project takes her to the Canary Islands—long rumored to be home to real witches—Eileen is struck by the lush beauty of Tenerife and its blend of Spanish and Moroccan culture. A stranger invites her to a local market where women sell amulets, charms, and love spells. Gradually Eileen immerses herself in her exotic surroundings, finding romance with a handsome young furniture maker. But as she learns more about the lives of these self-proclaimed witches, Eileen must choose how much trust to place in this new and seductive world, where love, greed, and vengeance can be as powerful, or as destructive, as any magic.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.