Conjure Women

Conjure Women

A Novel

Book - 2020
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"[A] sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother's footsteps as a midwife; and their master's daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom"--Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2020]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525511489
9780525511496
Characteristics: 400 pages ; 25 cm

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Adult Book Club: Conjure Women

This month, we're reading Conjure Women by Afia Atakora. Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her ... (more)


From Library Staff

Atakora's debut novel takes the reader on a back-and-forth journey in time to tell a story of how three women's escapades are intertwined through secrets, transgressions, and lies. This generational saga, set on a slave plantation in the South, follows Miss May Belle, the wise midwife and conjure... Read More »

Atakora's debut novel takes the reader on a back-and-forth journey in time to tell a story of how three women's escapades are intertwined through secrets, transgressions, and lies. This generational saga, set on a slave plantation in the South, follows Miss May Belle, the wise midwife and conjure... Read More »


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lozza1401
Aug 13, 2020

A story of witchcraft and voodoo set in Louisiana pre- and post-Civil War times. The pace was quite slow for me and I had to keep forcing myself to finish it which I am glad I did.

STPL_JessH Jul 16, 2020

Well, I have something controversial and shocking to say. I think Conjure Women might be better than The Vanishing Half (pause for your great shock and possible disdain!) I know, I KNOW. I gave Vanishing Half six stars out of five, so where does that leave Conjure Women?! In a different category all together, that's where.

I LOVE this book. I cannot believe it is a debut. I just can't. I refuse to. I have never read a debut like this one. Atakora's prose is so exquisite, and composed with such care. I savoured this book and read it slowly. I was caught between wanting to know what happens, and not wanting the book to end.

I really respect the way these characters are crafted with such rich detail. None of them are created simply and each has depth and nuance. They harm themselves, and they harm each other, and continue to navigate what it means to be cloistered in a closed off community. Lies are rampant and secrets are uncovered and then recovered, never fully buried.

There are a few moments strewn throughout the novel that make sense of what comes before and after. They are written with such powerful intent and yet delivered lightly, as though the reader should have seen such a revelation coming. Did I mention that Atakora writes poetically. Her descriptions are so luscious that it is impossible to imagine this story without feeling it intimately connected to the landscape. I feel like recommending this book is not enough. Conjure Women is an immense achievement. It is a story that demands to be shared, loved, discussed, remembered, and cherished.

l
lenoragoessling
Jun 21, 2020

Edmonds library display during June 2020

b
brangwinn
May 10, 2020

Powerful words make powerful images of this plantation Civil War and post-Civil War story. The story packs a wallop. Moving back and forth in time, the Civil War section is told by the slave woman responsible for healing, and that included conjure magic. At times, it is not an easy book to read. I wanted to slap the master’s young daughter so often and tell her to grow up. Reconstruction times are told by May Belle’s daughter. Also, a healing woman. There is so much emotion in this book, so much strength in both the slaves and the newly freed people. Endurance beyond what most of us could deal with. Freedom is not a pretty picture, it’s painful. And as secrets are revealed as the book ends, it becomes even more painful and sad. Compelling to the end, the reader will think about the people in this book for a long time.

LPL_ShirleyB Apr 27, 2020

Strongly recommended; I have become a dedicated fan of this author!

LPL_ShirleyB Apr 27, 2020

Strongly recommended; I have become a dedicated fan of this author!

OPL_DavidD Dec 27, 2019

This book gives you a lot to think about. After finishing it, it sat with me for awhile. The characters feel authentic and their relationships are messy and complicated. The story jumps between before and after the war, giving it a sense of scope.

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