The Years of Fading Magic by Kenelm Averill
|The Years of Fading Magic by Kenelm Averill
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: Delicate, subtle supernatural story combined with an exploration of the human condition.
|Date: July 2019
|Publisher: Independently Published
What if you could subtly change the lives of ordinary people around you?
Jessica Turner was one of the more radical teens to come out of Eastfield. A youth spent hanging out with a close crowd of friends was characterised by Jessica's role as a trendsetter, as an influencer, as a leader. Strangely charismatic, Jessica invited fascination and obsession. Nobody who met her forgot her. Or the days they spent in the Enclosure, a clearing in Eastfield woods that Jessica felt gave her power. But the group went its separate ways, as adolescent groups do, and her influence faded...
... but, after a decade apart, Jessica returns to Eastfield, now a practitioner of dynamic therapy. Her oldest friend, now heading a department at the local further education college, and recently divorced, is glad to see her back. At the same time, David Michaels begins work at the college - a lonely, introverted man, he fears a life alone. But Jessica's mystic influence brings Christine Harris into his life and, for a short time, they enjoy a marriage of complete harmony.
Can it last? Especially if, as Jessica discovers, the Enclosure and source of her power, is faltering and dying?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Years of Fading Magic. Narrated by Jessica's oldest friend, its magic is subtle and transitory. It's told in a rueful tone, as if world-weary but tinged with that most human of emotions: hope. As the relationship between David and Christine goes on, we can see immediately that it's built on shifting sands but also that it provides an interlude of happiness to two lonely people. And our narrator is not always quite reliable, so we also wonder how things are, as well as how they could or should be.
I found it a relaxing read. It's full of intimate detail and self-examination and the magic, while always there, isn't front and centre. Rather, the focus is on the human condition. We all reach out to others and we are all sometimes welcomed but sometimes rebuffed. There's also a good examination of British class identity: Eastfield is a town within a town and both figuratively and literally on the wrong side of the tracks. And yet it is here, away from suburban and middle-class sensitivities, that the magic exists.
The Years of Fading Magic is a subtle exploration of the supernatural and an interesting comment on human nature. Delicately written with engaging detail, it's a novel both satisfying and elusive. What more could you want?
You can read more about Kenelm Averill here.
We've also enjoyed A Demon In Silver by R S Ford.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Years of Fading Magic by Kenelm Averill at Amazon.com.
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