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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

A Novel

Rivka Galchen

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Drawing on real historical documents but infused with the intensity of imagination, sly humor, and intellectual fire for which award-winning author Rivka Galchen’s writing is known, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch is a tale for our time—the story of how a community becomes implicated in collective aggression and hysterical fear.

The year is 1619, in the German duchy of Württemberg. Plague is spreading. The Thirty Years War has begun, and fear and suspicion are in the air throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In the small town of Leonberg, Katherina Kepler is accused of being a witch.

An illiterate widow, Katherina is known by her neighbors for her herbal remedies and the success of her children, including her eldest, Johannes, who is the Imperial Mathematician and renowned author of the laws of planetary motion. It’s enough to make anyone jealous, and Katherina has done herself no favors by being out and about and in everyone’s business. So when the deranged and insipid Ursula Reinbold (or as Katherina calls her, the Werewolf) accuses Katherina of offering her a bitter, witchy drink that has made her ill, Katherina is in trouble. Her scientist son must turn his attention from the music of the spheres to the job of defending his mother. Facing the threat of financial ruin, torture, and even execution, Katherina tells her side of the story to her friend and next-door neighbor Simon, a reclusive widower imperiled by his own secrets.

Provocative and entertaining, Galchen’s bold ne… More…

Drawing on real historical documents but infused with the intensity of imagination, sly humor, and intellectual fire for which award-winning author Rivka Galchen’s writing is known, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch is a tale for our time—the story of how a community becomes implicated in collective aggression and hysterical fear.

The year is 1619, in the German duchy of Württemberg. Plague is spreading. The Thirty Years War has begun, and fear and suspicion are in the air throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In the small town of Leonberg, Katherina Kepler is accused of being a witch.

An illiterate widow, Katherina is known by her neighbors for her herbal remedies and the success of her children, including her eldest, Johannes, who is the Imperial Mathematician and renowned author of the laws of planetary motion. It’s enough to make anyone jealous, and Katherina has done herself no favors by being out and about and in everyone’s business. So when the deranged and insipid Ursula Reinbold (or as Katherina calls her, the Werewolf) accuses Katherina of offering her a bitter, witchy drink that has made her ill, Katherina is in trouble. Her scientist son must turn his attention from the music of the spheres to the job of defending his mother. Facing the threat of financial ruin, torture, and even execution, Katherina tells her side of the story to her friend and next-door neighbor Simon, a reclusive widower imperiled by his own secrets.

Provocative and entertaining, Galchen’s bold new novel touchingly illuminates a society, and a family, undone by superstition, the state, and the mortal convulsions of history.

Less…

Herein I begin my account, with the help of my neighbor Simon Satler, since I am unable to read or write. I maintain that I am not a witch, never have been a witch, am a relative to no witches. But from very early in life, I had enemies.

When...

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Rivka Galchen

Rivka Galchen received her MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, having spent a year in South America working on public health issues. Galchen completed her MFA at Columbia University, where she was a Robert Bingham Fellow. Her essay on the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics was published in The Believer, and she is the recipient of a 2006 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Galchen lives in New York City. She is the author of the novel Atmospheric Disturbances.

image of Rivka Galcheno
© Sandy Tait

Rivka Galchen

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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