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Hex: Darkland Tales

Hex: Darkland Tales

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Intelligent women threaten men, powerful women threaten them even more and the female ‘ body has been for women in capitalist society what the factory has been for male waged labour… the primary ground of their exploitation and resistance. From the multi-award-winning, former Granta Best Young British Novelist, Jenni Fagan tells the story of Geillis Duncan, a teenage girl caught up in the sixteenth century witch trials in the Scottish coastal town of North Berwick.

Having lived in Edinburgh for 5 months, I know very well the place where Geillis took her last breath. Geillis also had the misfortune to be able to assist women in child-birth and she was ‘ cursed with the ability to cure the ill’ by knowing which herbs and plants could be used to alleviate certain ailments.Rather than trying to coax anything new out of the witch, Fagan throws her lot in with the second cliché.

The second is the more recent, feminist one in which the witch is now glamorously peripheral, a poster child for alternative lifestyles and, inevitably, a martyr to the envious narrow-mindedness of the majority.Indeed, Geillis is so thoughtful that she agrees to speak in a twenty-first-century BBC English, so that her guest can understand everything she says. Got this book during my last hours in Edinburgh, after having it recommended by Jack Edwards himself, IN THE FLESH. Iris is a kindred soul from current day, determined to reach Geillis through the ether and provide comfort as her fate draws closer.

In Hex Fagan makes explicit that this is not about anything otherworldly, but about the cold, hard nature of power. Those of you who are familiar with the Outlander series will know who Geillis Duncan is, and this is her story, or at least the 24 hours before her hanging in 1591.

It opens with Jenni's most recent work and includes her previous two collections, both now out of print. Hex is inspired by the North Berwick witch trials, it is set in 1591 and focuses on Geillis Duncan, a fifteen-year-old girl who was convicted as a witch and hanged on the 4 th of December of the same year. We all know the witch trials and subsequent burnings or hangings were unjust and absurd because we know that witches and witchcraft in the mystical sense do not exist. When asked why she was persecuted, Geillis responds: ‘I helped women birth… I knew how to pick the right herbs to cure a headache, and I had a terrible want in me to go out at night and see the stars. Esta corta historia nos remonta desde los momentos previos a la ejecución de Geillis Duncan, hasta su muerte.

Jenni Fagan’s Hex is the second in Polygon’s series Darkland Tales, after Denise Mina’s Rizzio, and just two books in they have already made their mark as essential reading.We know this from our own time with Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram, Northern Ireland and all the unknown sites of extraordinary rendition. The sixteenth century always has to fit with what she wants and it can be never allowed to exist on its own terms.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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