This amazingly wise and nimble collection investigates the horrors inflicted on so-called “witches” of the past. The Witch of Eye unearths salves, potions, and spells meant to heal, yet interpreted by inquisitors as evidence of evil. The author describes torture and forced confessions alongside accounts of gentleness of legendary midwives. In one essay about a trial, we learn through folklore that Jesus’s mother was a midwife who cured her own son’s rheumatism. In other essays there are subtle parallels to contemporary discourse around abortion and environmental destruction. Nuernberger weaves in her own experiences, too. There’s an ironic look at her own wedding, an uncomfortable visit to the Prague Museum of Torture, and an afternoon spent tearing out a garden in a mercurial fit. Her researched material is eye-opening, lively, and often funny. An absolutely thrilling collection.
“This book is a social history, threaded through with folklore, mythology, current events, and glimpses into the author’s own marriage. It is a poetic and hypnotic trance of a read.”
““Kathryn Nuernberger is the witch of seeing clearly and telling all the truths at once. Her searing, all-seeing EYE casts a brilliant spell of honesty and power. In language ranging from the meditative to the brutally funny. Nuernberger stitches histories and hexes together, elegantly tracing the threads between how we talk about violence, nature, industry, and culture. This is a collection of wild and astonishing scope—excavating the past in ways that are entirely modern and necessary.”– V. V. Ganeshananthan, author of Love Marriage