Thursday, February 12, 2009

Katherine Howe on BBC World Service

Marblehead's Katherine Howe, author of the forthcoming The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (as well as frequent dinner companion and excellent party hostess), discussed Salem witchcraft on BBC's The Strand yesterday.

From an advance reviewer's appraisal of the book, which will be published by Hyperion imprint Voice in June 2009:
Connie Goodwin, a PhD candidate at Harvard, has her dissertation research derailed by an odd request from her eccentric mother. At her mother’s behest she spends the summer in Marblehead, Mass., attempting to resuscitate her grandmother’s vacant home into salable condition. In doing so she uncovers a new line of inquiry into a dark chapter of the colony’s history, the hysteria which produced the Salem witch trials. An antique key leads her on a path of discovery, unlocking the secrets of the true nature of witchcraft, which may not have been eradicated by the trials after all. In the first chapter Connie survives her own trial by fire: her oral exam for admittance to the PhD program. By the book’s end she faces another sort of trial, and her acceptance into an even more exclusive apprenticeship depends upon her survival. As Howe’s proxy discovers more about the mysterious practice of witchcraft it becomes apparent that Howe knows a thing or two about the practice of wordcraft.

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