The premise of this book must have seemed remarkably clever--and unusual--when it appeared in 1943.
What if all the women are witches and keep their craft secret from their husbands? What if their husbands' success in the workplace--their good performance reviews, their promotions, their smallest political victories--are due to their spouses' spells and circles of protection? And what would happen if one of the men found out, and persuaded his wife to renounce magic?
Many novels and films--and an ...more
Everyone knows the saying, "Behind every great man, there's a great woman." Well, in Conjure Wife, the great woman is a witch, and her great man doesn't know that. And it's worldwide: all women are witches, and they either know of or practice witchcraft.
Here's the gist:
One day, feeling good and taking a moment to reflect on his life, Norman Saylor, a professor of sociology at Hempnell College, begins to ponder his successes, one of which he considers his wife, Tansy. How did I ge ...more
The professor of a small college discovers that his wife is practicing magic.
He's disgusted that his wife, superstitious and flighty as she is, would do such a thing and orders her to immediately discontinue her practices.
Unfortunately, he does not consider that there could have been benefits associated with her charms.
I enjoyed the book very much despite the prejudices against women. Since this book was published in the 50's, I guess that type of thing is par ...more
A little disturbing for a guy to read....
However I liked it quite a lot. It caused me to read Our Lady of Darkness...a more complex book , but with an inferior story I believe. This one is just better "story-telling".
I found the story catching me quickly and pulling me along toward the climax. Imaginative and a ...more
Norman Saylor is a s ...more
This is a mistake Norman will soon live to regret as his comfortable life begins to unravel. See, it seems that Tansy wasn’t the only one practicing witchcraft and the grasping wives of Norman’s colleagues at the college have been practicing as well. Now, what with the protections ceasin ...more
I found the writing clever. I was transplanted into the cutthroat world of college politics. Who knew that the wives could be just as fierce as their faculty husbands? And that they would resort to sorcery and witchcraft to keep their husbands (and themselves by relation) in power? Things get pretty nasty!
I think that there is some ...more
After I finished with the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adventures, I wanted to try something not 'sword & sorcery' by the author. Conjure Wife has been recommended to me as a good example of his more modern work, and indeed it is quality proof of Fritz Leiber versatility. This one is a psychological thriller with strong horror elements. The poet who sang of heroic deeds and exotic landscapes is still present in the elegant prose and powerful atmospheric scenes of tempest and nights in the ce ...more
Ethnology professor Norman Saylor discovers that his wife has been putting his study of folk-magic to practical use. When he convinces her to stop, things go wrong, and he begins to wonder whether she might have been right to believe in magic after all.
I imagine most people first encounter Fritz Leiber from his Lankhmar series, but many know that he wrote a host of other good books, including Conjure Wife, his first novel. While in key ways a creature of its time in ...more
Then, in one instant of diabolic, paralyzing insight,he knew that this was sorcery. No mer...more
I rea ...more
I may have overlooked something here (I was often rather tired w ...more
Norman Saylor is that most-rational of men: the staid, college professor. He leads a relatively quiet life as an ethnosociologist at Hempnell College, a stereotypically conservative liberal arts school in New England. His wife, Tansy, is young, vivacious, and bit of a cipher for the other professor's wives in his social circle. If he's not well-liked by the other Hempnell faculty, he at least has their respect; though he secretly holds many of them and ...more
"Oh, it was a wonderful day all right, one of those days when reality becomes a succession of such bright and sharp images that you are afraid that any moment you will poke a hole in the gorgeous screen and glimpse the illimitable, unknown blackness it films; when everything seems so friendly and right that you tremble lest a sudden searing flash of in ...more
I liked parts of this a lot, but there were things that didn't make sense. Tansy knows her magic is real, so why does she give it up so easily? When she disappears one morning, how is it possible for Norman to receive a letter ...more
First of all I think Leiber is an excelent writer. No doubt about it. But the plot suffered for what I call TimeLife. Maybe there is a term for it but I do not know it. My thoughts are these. Reading today in 2013, with hundreds of novels of urban fantasy avaiable this book fails to achieved it's goal. It's like most ...more
One of these days I will have to sit down and figure out how many books I have chosen to read because of movies I've seen, and how many authors I have finally understood and enjoyed because I saw a movie made from the book first. Conjure Wife is one of the former since I didn't know that there was a book upon which the movie Burn, Witch Burn, which I first saw many moons ago, was based.
Earlier this week when I read that Conjure Wife was indeed what the movie was based on, I had to read the book....more
All women, it turns out, are witches, using the dark arts to help their husbands, and protect them from other women's evil magics.
There is a slightly sexist element to the tale, but no more than Lady Macbeth reflects badly on womanly ambition. Ultimately this is a very entertaining story, up there with Rosemary's Baby for social satire and a wickedly dark sense of humour.
My only reservation would be that ...more
Well, yes and no.
There are many things that are similar … the university environment (with its own political intrigues), “rationality” versus “neurosis,” eerie happenings that defy logic, and an apparent change of luck that may be an actual assault. These are the things that I recalled from the movies and I was not s ...more