Plot[ edit ] Tansy Saylor is the wife of an up-and-coming young sociology professor at a small, conservative American college. She is also a witch. Her husband, Norman, discovers this one day while rummaging through her dressing table: he finds vials of graveyard dirt, packets of hair and fingernail clippings from their acquaintances, and other evidence of her witchcraft. He confronts Tansy, and manages to convince her that her faith in magic is a result of superstition and neurosis.
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How did I Rating: 3. How did I get so lucky? Norman wonders. And what should he discover? The tell-tale signs of someone dabbling in "conjure magic. If he had ever wondered about Tansy and superstitions at all, it had only been to decide, with a touch of self-congratulation, that for a woman she was almost oddly free from irrationality p.
A confrontation with Tansy ensues, turns into a nearly four-hour long discussion, at the end of which Norman demands Tansy stop her "neurotic" behavior at once. Tansy reluctantly agrees; after all, she was only ever doing magic to protect Norman.
The "coincidences" culminate with the disappearance of his wife. But to rescue Tansy, Norman will have to practice a little conjure magic himself. The problem is, of course, he finds the whole idea ridiculous. Will Norman save Tansy? If he does, what will be the implications? The consequences? Here are my two cents: The sexism, oh the sexism.
Because Conjure Wife is told in a limited third-person narrative, Norman Saylor could make or break the story. After reading a couple chapters of his thoughts, I feared I may not be able to finish. For example, see the above quote from page 22 in addition to the below. And even to go so far as to see if there was a mathematical formula for spells. I liked Tansy, though, and the premise was an interesting one.
Men throughout history have feared "woman. Possibly in a conspiratorial capacity with other women. Wondered about her intuition. Faulted her for being more emotional than man.
I think what he most feared was not really knowing his wife. He looked at her, trying to comprehend it. It was almost impossible to take at one gulp the realization that in the mind of this trim modern creature he had known in completest intimacy, there was a whole great area he had never dreamed of Once I saw that Norman did, in fact, love his wife, it was easier for me to sit back and enjoy the story.
He used science the way many people use religion: a way to make sense of or cope with all the craziness, all the chaos, that is life.
A constant in the ever shifting variables.
Dark Ladies: Conjure Wife/Our Lady of Darkness
To put the novel into context, Fritz Leiber Jr. He was also building a reputation for writing strange stories in magazines such as Weird Tales appropriately enough! Fritz was an author known for also being a poet, a scriptwriter and even holding down an occupation as a Shakespearian actor himself being brought up in an acting family , it should not be a surprise that his stories were fond of wordplay and the use of language, imaginative and literate. Link here. Looking at the two together makes interesting comparison. The version is much shorter, less polished, rougher and yet more to the point. The version is more florid, with ideas expanded upon and the plot given room to spread out.
Conjure Wife – Fritz Leiber
From to , he worked as a lay reader and studied as a candidate for the ministry at the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea, Manhattan , an affiliate of the Episcopal Church , without taking a degree. In , he initiated a brief yet intense correspondence with H. From to , he was employed by Consolidated Book Publishing as a staff writer for the Standard American Encyclopedia. In , the family moved to California, where Leiber served as a speech and drama instructor at Occidental College during the — academic year. Unable to conceal his disdain for academic politics as the United States entered World War II , he decided that the struggle against fascism was more important than his long-held pacifist convictions. He accepted a position with Douglas Aircraft in quality inspection, primarily working on the C Skytrain ; throughout the war, he continued to regularly publish fiction in a variety of periodicals.