The Poison That Fascinates

by Jennifer Clement | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9781841959795 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingcanongatebookswing on 12/20/2007
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
8 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingcanongatebookswing on Thursday, December 20, 2007

Journal Entry 2 by Rivercassini from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, December 20, 2007
Received from Cannongate books - thank you. It arrived a couple of days ago but I didn't get to the sorting office to collect it until today.

Journal Entry 3 by Rivercassini from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Poison that Fascinates by Jennifer Clement

Permeated with strangeness and an oblique sense of otherness, Jennifer Clement’s The Poison that Fascinates is an engaging and thought-provoking read. Emily, who through a process of de-personification becomes Emilia, is a fourth generation immigrant to Mexico who lives with her doting but flawed father and splits her time between her studies and helping out at the local orphanage which her family founded many years ago.

In this aromatic novel, full of the smells of people, of coffee, of coriander and melons, of grapes and rain and roses and skin, Clement recreates a Mexico City which the imagination can swell and wallow in; and this is the Mexico City which the somewhat unworldly Emily inhabits, that is until the arrival of the enigmatic and increasingly creepy Santi, son of her father’s long-lost and long-dead brother, whose obsessive love sullies and then destroys Emily’s contentment and morality. The developing relationship between Santi and Emily is mirrored by that of young, oriental looking cousins at the orphanage, whose loss of both sets of parents caused such trauma that their personalities begin to merge; and yet, over time, the balance of proprietitorial doubt shifts from ‘the Japanese’ orphans to Santi and Emily.

Clement’s lyrically luscious prose encapsulates scenes of real tenderness – the brief pen portrait of Emily’s father desperate to love her enough to make up for the absence of her mother comes stands out – and of real, if understated, terror.

A highly structured, tight novel, sections of the narrative are interspersed with ‘facts’ about notorious murderers the relevance of which emerges only slowly, and only by keeping many elements in mind and making connections between fictional facts and factual fictions, does the denouement become inevitable.

There are weaknesses: the time frame for the narrative is undefined, making it hard to assess the credibility of developments, and there are sections which seem to fulfil no purpose other than to allow Clement the opportunity to display her obvious passion for writing beautiful words, but these are small flaws and do little to detract from what is overall and engaging, troubling, mystical read.

Journal Entry 4 by Rivercassini from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, January 5, 2008
I'm opening this book up as a book ring (i.e. I want it back at the end of its travels). If you would like to join, please send me a PM with your name and country of where you live. Please also say if are not prepared to post internationally - otherwise I will assume that you can.(I'll try to order the list so that postage costs are kept to a minimum).

Some brief "rules"
* Journal the book when you receive it.
* PM the next person on the list for their address when you receive it so as to try to avoid hold-ups later on.
* If you don't hear from the next participant within a few days, PM them again. If after a few more days you still haven't heard from them, PM me to let me know, and move on to the next person on the list.
* Read (and hopefully enjoy!) Don't feel pressurised to read it in a rush (and remember that life gets in the way sometimes for all of us!) but if you need to keep hold of the book for longer than say six weeks or a couple of months, please journal to let us know.
* Journal again when you've read it to let us know what you think of it!
* Surface/economy mail is fine, but please make a note in a journal entry so the person you're sending to has a rough idea of when to expect it.


Oceanripples, UK, Europe
Tregossip, UK, Europe
RubyBlueLady, UK, anywhere by surface
Waderwoman, UK, anywhere by surface
KiwiinEngland, UK, UK/EU
YowlYY, UK, no postage preference (would like to be at the very end).
Then back to me please.

Journal Entry 5 by Rivercassini at BookRing in Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, January 6, 2008

Released 14 yrs ago (1/6/2008 UTC) at BookRing in Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



Starting this one off on its travels tonight.

Journal Entry 6 by starchilli on Monday, January 14, 2008
Received today, thank you. I've got three books on the go at the moment and will read this one after those.

Journal Entry 7 by starchilli at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, January 26, 2008

Released 14 yrs ago (1/26/2008 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



On it's way today.
I really enjoyed this book, thanks for sharing it.

Journal Entry 8 by Tregossip from St. Austell, Cornwall United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 30, 2008
arrived today and thanks one and all

I enjoyed this one and off on it's travels again

Journal Entry 9 by Tregossip at Post Office in Probus, Cornwall United Kingdom on Saturday, February 23, 2008

Released 13 yrs ago (2/25/2008 UTC) at Post Office in Probus, Cornwall United Kingdom



off to RubyBlueLady - enjoy

Journal Entry 10 by RubyBlueLady from Avebury, Wiltshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 27, 2008
This arrived safely yesterday thank you. I will read it straightaway.

Journal Entry 11 by RubyBlueLady from Avebury, Wiltshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I read this straightaway but unfortunately strong winds knocked out my phone/broadband connection for days.

I liked the story, especially the parts about the orphanage, the love affair intrigued me too. I found all the parts relating to the murders and murderers rather irritating though.

Will post on to waderwoman.

Journal Entry 12 by waderwoman on Thursday, March 6, 2008
Yahoo! This arrived safely today thanks.

I have got 1 to finish + another book to read before I start this but shall hurry as fasts as I can!

Journal Entry 13 by waderwoman on Wednesday, March 26, 2008
To be honest I found this rather tedious- I couldn't really empathise with the main character and found the random facts that were slotted in rather unnecessary. I also found the ending rather abrupt.
Am posting off to KiwiinEngland next.

Journal Entry 14 by waderwoman on Friday, March 28, 2008
This is beinng posted to KiwiinEngland tomorrow as she is next in line.
Am counting it as #36 Family Release

Journal Entry 15 by wingkiwiinenglandwing from Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Thursday, April 17, 2008
Thank you, received safe and sound.

Journal Entry 16 by wingkiwiinenglandwing from Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The book is wonderfully written, with words flowing in a delightful manner.

But the characters are unsympathetic...I didn't care what happened to Emilia, I thought her cousin was too obnoxious to be invited to stay in the house for so long.

I did enjoy the facts interspersed throughout the chapters. They seemed to show just how out of touch with reality, in a very sheltered way, Emilia was.

I will send this its way shortly

Journal Entry 17 by wingkiwiinenglandwing from Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Sunday, May 18, 2008
posted large letter rate on 17th May 2008

Journal Entry 18 by YowlYY on Monday, May 19, 2008
Landed with a thump at my doorstep this morning...thanks so much to KiwiinEngland for shipping it, Royal Mail for being quick (once again), and Rivercassini for sharing. I am halfway through another mystery, and as soon as I am done with it this book will be next.

Journal Entry 19 by YowlYY on Thursday, May 22, 2008
I finished my mystery sooner, eager to start this book, and somehow I did imagine something else when I signed up for it happens, I agree with waderwoman and Kiwiinengland...a nice, lyric prose, that would have created a good story if only the characters had been warmer. Maybe it was not the right moment to read this book, but alas, that's now done.
It is ready to make the trip back home as soon as I receive the address of the ringmaster.
Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 20 by Rivercassini from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, May 31, 2008
I'm delighted to say that this book has now arrived home safely, where it will be resting for while, recuperating from its travels. I'm amazed at the excellent condition this book is still in given that some many have read it and its been through the post many times. Thank you all for taking so much care; it's certainly good enough to go out on a ring again soon, if there are any takers. And thanks to Canongate Books for sharing too :)

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