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Season of the Witch
by Natasha Mostert

Published: 2014-01-15
Paperback : 446 pages
12 members reading this now
2 clubs reading this now
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
In her award-winning novel, Mostert blends alchemy, the art of memory, high magic and murder to create a highly original psychological thriller.


Gabriel Blackstone is a cool, hip, thoroughly twenty-first century Londoner with an unusual talent.  A computer hacker by trade, he is also a ...
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Introduction

In her award-winning novel, Mostert blends alchemy, the art of memory, high magic and murder to create a highly original psychological thriller.


Gabriel Blackstone is a cool, hip, thoroughly twenty-first century Londoner with an unusual talent.  A computer hacker by trade, he is also a remote viewer: able to 'slam a ride' through the minds of others.


But he uses his gift only reluctantly -- until he is contacted by an ex-lover who begs him to find her step-son, last seen months earlier in the company of two sisters.


And so Gabriel visits Monk House, a place where time seems to stand still, and where the rooms are dominated by the coded symbol of a cross and circle.


As winter closes in, Gabriel becomes increasingly bewitched by the house, and by its owners, the beautiful and mysterious Monk sisters. But even as he falls in love, he knows that one of them is a killer.


But which one? And what is the secret they are so determined to protect?

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

He was at peace: his brain no longer blooming like a crimson flower.

Slowly he opened his eyes. Above him, a black sky shimmering with stars. A pregnant moon entangled in the spreading branches of a tree.

Vaguely he realized he was on his back, floating on water. A swimming pool. Every now and then he would move his legs and hands to stay afloat. But the movements were instinctive and he was hardly aware of them. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. At the beginning of Season of the Witch, Gabriel is hip, sexy, self-assured and in control of his life. At the end of the book we see him much older and in the grip of obsession. Do you think he has grown during his journey or has he become a diminished, sad figure?

2. One of the themes in Season of the Witch is that ordinary life is filled with magic. If you think there is something wholly mysterious lurking at the edge of your peripheral vision... you may be right! Do you agree? Do you believe in paranormal and mystical experiences? If you don't, did the author still manage to create a believable world within the pages of the book?

3. Gabriel falls in love with a voice in a diary. Do you think this is a realistic scenario? When the author started writing the book, she pitched the idea to friends to test their reaction. All the women thought the idea romantic and plausible whereas the reaction of some of the men ranged from disbelieving laughter to a more diplomatic 'Nothing is impossible.' What is your view?

4. Following on from the above question: Do you believe it is precisely because the woman in the diary is unattainable that Gabriel becomes obsessed with her? Do you agree that unresolved sexual tension lies at the heart of attraction?

5.Which of the two sisters is the more attractive? Please give reasons for your answer.

6. The two witches in the novel are information addicts and they are building a memory palace in order to strengthen their memory and use it as a tool to reach enlightenment. Do you agree with the central premise of the book that the memories of people today are far weaker than those of our ancestors - even those of our grand-parents? Before the advent of the printing press, people had to remember everything. Today we need only click a mouse and we have an ocean of information at our fingertips. But do technological advances weaken our ability to recollect? And does it matter?

7. At the end of Season of the Witch, Gabriel writes: 'One of the crueller jokes of creation is being burdened with brains capable of conceptualizing a state of higher consciousness we have little hope of ever achieving. But we can strive, walking with hands outstretched like a blind man trying to orient himself in an alien place. And sometimes our clumsy fingers graze the mind of God.' Do you agree that most people feel a pervasive sense of discontent within themselves - a yearning for something bigger and finer that lies outside their frame of reference? Would you say this lies at the heart of the human condition? From Author Natasha Mostert:

1. At the beginning of Season of the Witch, Gabriel is hip, sexy, self-assured and in control of his life. At the end of the book we see him much older and in the grip of obsession. Do you think he has grown during his journey or has he become a diminished, sad figure?

2. One of the themes in Season of the Witch is that ordinary life is filled with magic. And that if you think there is something wholly mysterious that lurks at the edge of your peripheral vision…you may be right! Do you agree? Do you believe in paranormal and mystical experiences? If you don’t, did the author still manage to create a believable world within the pages of the book?

3. Gabriel falls in love with a voice in a diary. Do you think this is a realistic scenario? When the author started writing the book, she pitched the idea to friends and the women thought the idea romantic and plausible whereas the reaction of the men ranged from disbelieving laughter to a more diplomatic “Nothing is impossible.” What is your view?

4. Following on from the above question: Do you believe that it is precisely because the woman in the diary is unattainable that Gabriel becomes obsessed with her? Do you agree that unresolved sexual tension lies at the heart of attraction?

5. Which of the two sisters is the more attractive? Please give reasons for your answer.

6. The two witches in the novel are information addicts and they are building a memory palace in order to strengthen their memory and use it as a tool to reach enlightenment.

Do you agree with the central premise of the book that despite ever-increasing multi-tasking skills, that the memories of people today are far weaker than those of our ancestors -- even those of our grand-parents? Before the advent of the printing press, people had to remember everything. Today we need only click a mouse and we have an ocean of information at our fingertips. But do technological advances weaken our ability to recollect? And does it matter?

7. At the end of Season of the Witch, Gabriel writes: “One of the crueler jokes of creation is being burdened with brains capable of conceptualizing a state of higher consciousness we have little hope of ever achieving. But we can strive, walking with hands outstretched like a blind man trying to orient himself in an alien place. And sometimes our clumsy fingers graze the mind of God.”

8. Do you agree that most people feel a pervasive sense of discontent within themselves – a yearning for something bigger and finer that lies outside their frame of reference? Would you say this lies at the heart of the human condition?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

A Note from Natasha Mostert for BookMovement Members:

I started off trying to create a modern-day Scheherazade story. When I was a little girl, my mother told me the Arabian Nights fantasy of Scheherazade and the Sultan while playing the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in the background! The idea of a woman captivating a man -- not by the beauty of her face, but by the power of her words -- is a seductive concept and I wanted to translate this idea into a modern idiom.

The second idea I wanted to explore, was more esoteric. I believe most of us feel a pervasive sense of discontent, which we find difficult to articulate but which informs our lives. We sense that we are sleepwalking through life and that there is another way of looking at the world, which will enable us to experience life intensely and with much greater joy. What I tried to convey in Season of the Witch, is the poignancy that underlies this quest for enlightenment. Because even though man was created with a brain powerful enough for him to realize there is a higher consciousness to which he can aspire, it is not powerful enough to allow him to truly achieve his goal.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Season of the Witch"by zamak (see profile) 05/15/09

Very interesting book. I loved it. I think about different things about it every day. Very intriguing.

 
  "A love/drama story"by Kathy E. (see profile) 11/30/07

This book was beautifully written. I enjoyed the book very much and recommend it to anyone.
There were only 2 things that really took from the book.
1. Frankie's character was no as well

... (read more)

 
  "Well written. Easy read. Made for a great book discussion."by kbatson (see profile) 10/31/07

 
  "What a great book!"by terrislatts (see profile) 10/31/07

I love the way Natasha Mostert writes. Very interesting and I was totally happy with the books ending. For me, I am always dissapointed in a books ending but not the case with this one. Great book!

 
  "a gothic thriller about a love triangle between two witch sisters and an information thief."by adelumeau (see profile) 09/18/07

this book is very well written and well researched, but too dark for my taste plus for personal reasons i did not care too much for the sorcery theme!

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