Picks and Pans Review: April Witch
While Desirée lies in a nursing home, limbs gnarled by cerebral palsy and seizures, her mind takes her on fantastic journeys. She is an April Witch, clairvoyant and omniscient, able to leave her body and experience the world beyond her bed.
A hit in Axelsson's native Sweden, April Witch is both dreamlike and gritty. Born severely disabled in the 1950s, Desirée was abandoned by her mother and dumped in a series of nursing homes where she developed a passion for physics and for a doctor who nurtured her paranormal powers. As the end of her life nears, Desirée uses those forces to get inside the minds of the three "sisters" she has never met—foster children raised by her mother—to piece together the mystery of the life she was denied. Their lives are dismal, but you don't know whether to love, hate or pity them.
Axelsson's irresistible story combines suspense with the supernatural, setting up a haunting confrontation between a soaring mind and a body shackled by disease, family and society. Within the darkness there is a dash of hope—the ability to love in spite of unthinkable hardship. More than her clairvoyance, it is Desirée's greatest gift. Readers will be disturbed and exhilarated. (Villard, $24.95)
Bottom Line: Bewitching
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