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Conjure Wife por Fritz Leiber
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Conjure Wife (original 1943; edição 1977)

por Fritz Leiber (Autor)

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5461534,132 (3.74)49
A professor discourages his wife's witchcraft to disastrous ends in this Hugo Award-winning novel--that inspired three films--by the Grand Master of Fantasy. Ethnology professor Norman Saylor is shocked to discover that his wife, Tansy, has been putting his research on "Conjure Magic" into practice. She only wants to protect him from the other spell-casting faculty wives who would stop at nothing to advance their husbands' careers. But Norman, as a man of science, demands she put an end to it. And when Tansy's last charm is burned . . . Norman's life starts falling apart.   First, Norman has a disastrous run-in with a former protégé. Then his student secretary accuses him of seducing her. He's even passed over for a promotion that had been certain. Plus he's become exceedingly accident prone: from shaving to carpet tacks to letter openers, hazards are suddenly everywhere. At his wit's end, he begins to worry that a dark presence is exploiting his fear of trucks. But the worst is yet to come--when Tansy takes his curse upon herself. Now, in order to save his wife, Norman must overcome his disbelief and embrace the dark magic he disdains.   Winner of the 1944 Retrospective Hugo Award, Conjure Wife is widely celebrated as a modern classic of horror-fantasy and has been adapted for film three times: Burn, Witch Burn (1962), Weird Woman (1944), and Witch's Brew (1980).  … (mais)
Membro:beckworthbooks
Título:Conjure Wife
Autores:Fritz Leiber (Autor)
Informação:An Ace Book by arrangement with Twayne Publishers Inc. 1953 251 pages.
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Conjure Wife por Fritz Leiber Jr. (1943)

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I choose to describe Conjure Wife as a cautionary tale and parable about how closed mindedness, sexism and arrogance (in this case in 1950's academia) can damage those that we love. Norman, a sociology professor at a small, second tier university, is quite full of himself. He describes his wife as "his most prized possession" and, for reasons that are unclear, has chosen to snoop on her and look through her closet and private possessions. As a result, he discovers that his wife is in actuality a practicing witch, and a good one at that. Being the modern scientist and responsible for his wife's well-being (as he sees it) he immediately must sit her down and didactically enlighten his wife, who he clearly considers to be child-like and in need of his guidance. The extended scene in which he describes his patient attempts to help her make the logical steps to "realize" that witchcraft is just a delusion of less advanced societies is nauseating in its paternalism and condescension. She finally agrees to throw it all away. He is finally convinced that he has helped his wife Tansy mature and that this dabbling in primitive customs is behind them. The problem is that the witchcraft is very real and so is the danger created by the sudden removal of all the spells that were protecting him for years. He is about to learn that there are more witches out there and that some can be pretty nasty.

I think that the use of the first person narrative voice was brilliant, even necessary for this novel to have the proper effect. We are able to hear Norman tell the story from his point of view and in his own words and roll our eyes wondering if this pig-headed snob is EVER going to open his eyes to what is happening around him. Ultimately, just as he would accuse primitive societies of being trapped by their ignorance, he is likewise trapped by his own self-imposed rigid mindset. In his world view, men are cognitively and emotionally superior to women and all "reality" is merely a reflection of science and mathematics. Anything not "scientific" or at least scientific in is definition, is not reality. It is amusing and sometimes horrifying to watch him rationalize the supernatural events occurring around him.

Finally, with his wife's help (who actually would have been MUCH better off without his meddling in the first place) he is able to right what was wrong and get everything back the way it was before he intervened. You can't help but smirk when you read how he slants the action so that it always looks like he is the hero that saves the day. The real brilliance of the novel is that Norman's narration is transparent. Even while he tells you about his application of scientific principles and logical solutions to the horror confronting them, you can see the terrified Norman cowering behind it all. This Norman knows that he has left himself and Tansy naked to an evil onslaught and that he is completely out of his depth. He retreats into depression and alcohol and lashes out in frustration at those around him. It is pathetic to watch him, even though he believes in the reality of the magic, attempt to sell himself on the idea that everything that is going on is explainable by scientific, psychological, or medical causes.

Well, good triumphs over evil and at the end Tansy asks him if he has changed his mindset or if he is already rationalizing the whole chain of events into a scientific explanation. We don't get the answer, but clearly we hope that Norman has learned a bit from his wife, who has shown a tremendous amount of patience with her stubborn and close-minded husband. ( )
  ChrisMcCaffrey | Apr 6, 2021 |
This was a fun novel about a witch.

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 for the course.
All in all, I enjoyed the prose, the story and the ending. ( )
  Charrlygirl | Mar 22, 2020 |
There’s some interesting things in this story, but ohhhhh the sexism. Even for its time, WOW. ( )
  CiaraCat | Jan 9, 2020 |
All women are witches. Not in a bad way! Tansy Saylor uses her craft to protect and aid her liberal college professor Norman. But there are others who have darker, more selfish motives. When Norman convinces his wife that it's all just superstition, Tansy's enemies move in.

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 from her in the post that same day? (It doesn't seem to be magic.)

Maybe I missed something. The story is still suspenseful and even frightening enough at times to be worth a read. ( )
1 vote chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
Leiber is never less than very, very good. Conjure Wife follows this rule, though it shows clear evidence of being published more than half a century ago, not least as Norman (with some help from his faculty) advances the science of witchcraft a millennium or so, surpassing the women's work passed down through generations, cheered on by his perky yet subsumed Tansy.

Hm. Reading that, I shouldn't have enjoyed this nearly as much as I did. When approached correctly, as a period piece, this is a fine way to spend some time, though for peak Leiber I'd look to Our Lady of Shadows or his shorter fiction. ( )
1 vote UrbanVariable | Sep 1, 2017 |
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Norman Saylor was not the sort of man to go prying into his wife's dressing room.
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A professor discourages his wife's witchcraft to disastrous ends in this Hugo Award-winning novel--that inspired three films--by the Grand Master of Fantasy. Ethnology professor Norman Saylor is shocked to discover that his wife, Tansy, has been putting his research on "Conjure Magic" into practice. She only wants to protect him from the other spell-casting faculty wives who would stop at nothing to advance their husbands' careers. But Norman, as a man of science, demands she put an end to it. And when Tansy's last charm is burned . . . Norman's life starts falling apart.   First, Norman has a disastrous run-in with a former protégé. Then his student secretary accuses him of seducing her. He's even passed over for a promotion that had been certain. Plus he's become exceedingly accident prone: from shaving to carpet tacks to letter openers, hazards are suddenly everywhere. At his wit's end, he begins to worry that a dark presence is exploiting his fear of trucks. But the worst is yet to come--when Tansy takes his curse upon herself. Now, in order to save his wife, Norman must overcome his disbelief and embrace the dark magic he disdains.   Winner of the 1944 Retrospective Hugo Award, Conjure Wife is widely celebrated as a modern classic of horror-fantasy and has been adapted for film three times: Burn, Witch Burn (1962), Weird Woman (1944), and Witch's Brew (1980).  

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