Monday, June 05, 2017

Of The Psychic Mind and Superstitions

Inhaled two short books over two days over a cup of coffee. Susan May's 'The Troubles Keeper' (2016) and Jeanette Winterson's 'The Daylight Gate' (2012). Yeah, I wanted to do some light reading, but I was left a bit disappointed because they weren't as brilliant as I had hoped. Was totally not absorbed in the worlds the authors created. Luckily I could return these books to the Kindle library.

Set in our contemporary world, Susan May's 'The Troubles Keeper' is literal. Rory Fine is a young cheerful bus driver with gift of being able to take people's troubles away, fashioning them into tangible emotions to lock up and throw away. Until he meets Mariana, a regular passenger on his bus route that he falls in love with. But he realizes she has been marked by a dark sinister mass, and it eats into his emotions. The tale of the fight between good and evil begins. Of course it leads back to his childhood trauma and friends.

The story lost me when it went into auras of people, energies, and how some are psychic receptors for dimensional pathways to another world. Maybe. But the way the author puts it isn't compelling. She wrote 'Behind Dark Doors' so well, but this, in the realm of fantasy, doesn't feel like she gets the genre. Even her phrasing and usage of words are so different.

As we met, the breath was knocked from my lungs, as a terrible fury of hate, guilt and every dark emotion entwined me. Some kind of consciousness entered my mind, prying and searching for weakness, to trip me up, force me to release my prisoner. The other mind recognized what I could do, somehow. And the threat.  
The image of Mariana's innocent, lovely face gave me strength. With one almighty shove, I pushed at the thing with everything in me. Without warning, the dark thing wavered and collapsed inside the box.

Set in seventeenth century King James' England, Jeanette Winterson's 'The Daylight Gate' is a fictional re-telling of the trial of the Lancashire 'Pendle Witches' in 1612. (Reviews here, here and here.) It narrates the story from Alice Nutter's viewpoint, a rich and independent woman with a pet falcon who made her fortune in clothes' dye, a shimmering sort of magenta favored by the Queen.

The story was evenly paced, horrifying in its quiet re-telling of how the characters go about trying to not get arrested or making the best of a hopeless situation. But crowd sentiments are terrifying and there isn't a logical way to win the power superstition and the fear of the supernatural. It's not just an oppression of women. Men were persecuted too, and for their religious inclinations. We know how it ended. Seventeenth century England never sounds like a nice era.

She stretched back her neck, exposing the long line of her throat. The falcon flapped his wings to keep himself steady as he dug his feet into her collarbone to make a perch. His head dived forward in one swift movement. He severed her jugular vein.

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