This book is so weird. I mean that in the best way possible. I don’t even know how to go about describing it, because it’s just that weird. Witchy healer does witchy things? Witchy healer starts an affair with a guy who might not be so upstanding himself and chaos ensues? Is she good? Is she not so good? No one knows. Certainly not this reader.
It’s like this: Ada starts out seeming like a perfectly sweet, innocent young girl, with some peculiar abilities. She cures illnesses, which she learned to do from her father. A man named Samson from the village begins an affair with her. Her father is not enthused. Neither, it seems, is his sister. Throughout this affair, we begin catching glimpses into something darker lurking beneath the surface. Maybe Ada is not so innocent as she seems. Maybe Samson’s not either. Maybe it’s both of them. Maybe it’s everyone else. I’m still not sure.
But I think that’s what makes it interesting. I’ve put off writing this review for probably two weeks now because I still don’t know how I feel about it except to say that I mostly enjoyed it. The writing is strong and the pages breeze by. The plot is meandering- not always my favorite- but I think it works here because it’s only 200 or so pages long to begin with.
The magic is confounding, and not too in your face. It seems like a subtle but necessary element. If you’re squeamish (like myself), I’m just giving you a heads up, this book is no picnic. The way the healing is done… it gets graphic.
I read Imaginary Friend not too long ago, and complained that literary horror wasn’t something I wanted to revisit. Well, I feel like I did accidentally revisit it here, and apparently it does work in small doses.
The ending is ambiguous- we’re left to draw our own conclusions about everything that takes place in those last few pages. It annoyed me upon finishing, but it’s also the reason I’ve found this so haunting.