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The Wizardry of Jewish Women

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A compassionate but unsentimental look at three characters who rarely get to be protagonists in literature. Polack imbues their lives with quiet magic, while avoiding the expected tropes and without ever resorting to shtick.
~ Jason Franks, author of Aurealis nominated Bloody Waters, The Sixsmiths.

This story will take you by the hand and pull you along unfamiliar paths.
Paperback, First, 332 pages
Published September 5th 2016 by Satalyte Publishings
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Jennifer (JC-S)
This book is about shadows. The shadow of the past on our past.

Meet Rhonda. Meet Judith, and her sister Belinda. And as you gradually become familiar with their lives, their loves, their fears and their pasts, youll find yourself wondering what the future holds. For each of them, and for those who matter to them.

While each of these women thinks they want an ordinary, uncomplicated life, its never going to be that easy. Why? Well, apart from the fact that the past has its own impact, there are
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The author is a friend. I have done my best to give an unbiased review.

The Wizardry of Jewish Women is a complex book of literary fantasy that focuses on the lives of three women. Judith and Belinda are sisters who have just inherited two trunks of their great-grandmother's papers. Rhonda is a historian and prophet whose historical articles trigger a need to blurt modern-day prophecies on the same topics in
Shawn Remfrey
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library
A few years ago, I was strongly urged to watch Downton Abbey. I asked what it was about. 'An abbey.' Yes, alright. I'm not daft. What's the plot? ' watch it.' I continued to put it off until I had a broken ankle. Again. Unable to move, I figured it would be a great chance to give this plotless television show a fair chance. I watched the first episode. I enjoyed it, but I couldn't figure out why. So I watched another episode. Then another. Then another. Soon I had consumed three ...more
Lauren Mitchell
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I feel that this is one of those books that I will come back to and appreciate something new in it each time. On the first read-through, the one I have just completed, I felt most drawn to Rhonda's story. (view spoiler) ...more
Pamela Lloyd
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Gillian's work and this is no exception. She creates wonderful, unique, believable characters that challenge our expectations of who can be a hero, and makes me wish I lived next door, so I could enjoy a chat and a cup of tea (they might prefer coffee, but I don't) with them. This story about two sisters, their friends, and their children, blends coping with husbands and ex-husbands, discovering a magical heritage hidden in the family history, and coping with demons, all set in a ...more
Anna Hepworth
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rated-five
Difficult to get in to at the start, partly because the story starts rather abruptly, slowly fleshing out the characters and their relationships instead of spelling them out up front, and partly because there are some fairly intense aspects that I had to walk away from, interrupting the flow of the story.

Once I got in to it, this story of the somewhat ordinary lives of supposedly ordinary people galumphed along at quite a rate. I did find some of the later plot details a little forced, but my
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna Livingston
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I can't tell whether the book starts slowly or I was just in such a miserable headspace at the end of 2016 that it took me forever to get 1/3 of the way through, but I'll give the book the benefit of the doubt and assume that I'm probably the problem here, not it. A slower start may be necessary anyway to fully establish the main characters -- three women, all related, each with a slightly different relationship to their Judaism, each with their own secrets, and each with a theoretical or ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful, subtle, almost tricksy book. At first glance, the protagonists' challenges may seem inconsequential, but it soon becomes clear that's not the case, not with the book's nuanced treatment of domestic violence, estrangement from family, antisemitism and politics. Beautifully written, too: I particularly loved the dialogue.

(Disclaimer: the author is a friend of mine, which hopefully hasn't unduly influenced my admiration of her talent. Gillian, I didn't throw it against the wall!
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was recommended this book by a friend of the author, and I did enjoy it, though I found it quite a slow burn. The fractured nature of the narrative takes a little while to get used to.

I found the the three women at the center of this book to be relatable and well drawn. The prose is spare but handles some very tough subject matter deftly and with great nuance. I would have liked more cross over between the characters and perhaps a little more about Belinda, but overall this was quite
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Dec 13, 2018
Sue Bursztynski
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Julanna Hennessy
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book, so real it's sometimes hard to remember it's fantasy. It has a slow unfolding though many difficult times to arrive at a conclusion that is immensley satisfying. The setting is current and the magic is discovered bit by bit in a way that almost makes me believe the magic is real, and that if I find the right people in the right places I'll see it happening. Thanks Gillian.
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Gillian is a writer and historian, currently living in Canberra, Australia. She intends to count the books in her library soon, when they stop falling on her and otherwise intimidating her.

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