When we first decided that we were going to celebrate one particular author per month I immediately knew two things: I was going to start with Alice Hoffman, the author that made me fall in love with words, and that April was going to be Suzanne Palmieri’s month.
You see, there’s something very special about April. It somehow feels like the bridge between winter and spring. The last tears of the coldest season drown the ground in possibility and magic reaches out into the realm of our so called reality.
That’s why I chose Suzanne Palmieri. She is magic. She’s a bridge between being alive and being painfully aware of it, in the most beautiful way.
I believe someone once said that writing was easy, that it was all about sitting down and bleeding onto a page. As poetic as that sounds, I think that what Suzanne Palmieri does goes beyond that. Not only does she allow her characters to borrow the emotions they then wear across the pages, she also breathes life into them, she breathes herself into them. I think that was why I fell in love with her novels in the first place. There’s a soul to them and it’s beautiful to watch it unfold in front of us. And the acceptance… the love, the hope, the fear… it’s all so palpable and humane…
I must confess that bonding with her characters isn’t always easy at first. You see, they are not the kind to try and make you love them for something they are not. Instead, they just exhale their true colours and leave you to deal with it. And it’s so easy to judge them, isn’t it? That is until you realise that what they are doing is quite a refreshing thing, something to be admired and not judged. They are not playing a part depending on context, or assuming roles in different plays. No, they are being themselves. How rare is that? And what a challenge it must be!
Her latest novel, The Witch of Bourbon Street, is a hurricane.
You might feel slightly lost at first. There were a lot of voices, faces, memories… and they all kept claiming my full attention at the same time. I honestly didn’t know what to do. It was like being in the middle of a roundabout with an endless number of exits. Where was I supposed to go? Then it hit me. We have to admit to be lost before trying to find our own path, ourselves. And that was exactly what I did.
Ah, the details. There’s definitely a key to every lock and Suzanne Palmieri just keeps opening these majestic doors…
If you have read The Witch of Little Italy and/or The Witch of Belladonna Bay, I can promise you one thing: The Witch of Bourbon Street is a revolution. I found it to be way darker, heavier. Even the space between the words felt thicker.
And you know what? I cannot wait for The Witch House of Persimmon Point, coming out this fall.