Weather Witches and Wise Women

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399603409

Price: £4.99

ON SALE: 8th November 2023

Genre: Fiction & Related Items

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In this new collection taken from her very first short stories, written while she and her young family were living in a bus, shortly after the end of the second world war, up until her most recent, Joan Aiken draws on the characters of women from folk and fairy tales who may have had to keep their own light under a bushel, but who use their understanding of the ways of the world, and often their sense of humour to help not just themselves, but others who are lonely and unhappy.

Often delightfully tongue in cheek, Joan Aiken presents stories of shop girls who can sell you a pinch of weather, or lonely spinster piano teachers who can confront the devil and his pop group in a dark alley. Old ladies, browbeaten wives, silent mothers, unhappy daughters – all are given a chance to speak their thoughts, and even practise a little magic in Joan Aiken’s modern folk tales, particularly in her last collection, called Mooncake. Stories from her whole writing career are included in this collection.


A consummate storyteller
These are admirable stories for any age because they are dug from a delightful mind. Many will drop into their reader's lives like those enriching stones which break the surfaces of still pools and leave rings long after their splash
Whether Joan Aiken is melancholy or comic, her magical stories are suffused with a profound sympathy for the lonely and the imaginative ... teaching us how better to enjoy and endure life
Joan Aiken's triumph with this genre is that she does it so much better than others
Let me, then, if only figuratively, thrust into your hands these collections of "strange" stories. In them you will read of ghosts and magical transformations and curious customs. You will smile sometimes and shiver more often, but invariably find yourself firmly in thrall to the voice of the storyteller ... this is Joan Aiken.
Joan Aiken's invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come
Philip Pullman
There's so much to love about this slender collection ... The juxtaposition of mundane and magical ... feels effortless and fresh. The language is simply splendid, so evocative, as though the stories were actually very dense poems. And it brilliantly showcases Aiken's affectionate, humorous, deft portrayals of female characters
Joan Aiken has established herself as one of the leading purveyors of suspense
Joan Aiken's magic stories have the right mixture . . . distinguished and sometimes beautiful writing and always in a frame-work of logic
Naomi Mitchison, NEW STATESMAN
Darkly whimsical stories ... Aiken writes with surpassing spirit and alertness, her elegant restraint and dry wit never fail to leave their mark
Each story has a surprise or twist. Many are ironic, go-figure pieces. They are just like real life, only more so. VERDICT: This book will appeal to readers of short stories and literary fiction. Highly recommended