“The Witch of Napoli” by Michael Schmicker

The Witch of Napoli

(Author: Michael Schmicker) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)


To be honest, I don’t have much to say about this book. It didn’t influence me in some special way, it didn’t really touch me much either. The Witch of Napoli is a tolerable, easy book to read. It’s not going to take you more than a day, it’s not going to burden you and it’s going to be interesting enough.

The story is simple: the life of a self-proclaimed spiritualist, who’s trying to prove to the pessimists that she’s not making the spirits up.

When we say spiritual in this book, there is nothing grand and lavish, Alessandra is capable of letting spirits borrow her body, they move tables, spit, curse, talk, etc.

The entire book is simple and sort of… quiet? The author is not trying too hard and for that he gets my admiration. The writing is pleasurable and efficient. The characters were too distant for me, however. I didn’t even try to put myself in their shoes, I was a spectator entirely.

What I didn’t like about the book was that 1/3 of it was in Italian. I forever fail to understand why writers find it in any way interesting and fruitful to use a foreign language in their English books. What they are trying to accomplish is a mystery to me, so the two most sensible answers seem to be:

a) trying to add authenticity
b) trying to look educated

Whichever one it is – STOP DOING IT. If you feel the need to translate your own book, you’re doing something wrong. And there are also words and exclamations which are not translated and to understand them I had to either thank my limited Italian vocabulary, or use my imagination, like the description of the naughty nurse with the rosary… somewhere.  I’d imagine it was dangling between her boobs, but I have no idea where that comes from.

Either way, nobody really cares that you possibly speak Italian, half of the people in the civilized world speak more than one language, and I can’t even be sure how good your Italian is, by the way, since I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT. A couple years ago I read a book half written in Ukrainian, I think. Only the fact that Bulgarian is also a Slavic language saved that book from being burned. I’m curious, Mr Schmicker, how much you’d enjoy reading a book which is half Tagalog. Not much, I’d imagine.

As a whole, if you want to kill of a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea, you should give The Witch of Napoli a shot. If you are looking for a serious book filled with action, adventure, history and magic… well, look elsewhere.


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