A tale of witch-hunting told in the words of a 17th century female Larry David, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is A Witch illuminates a society and a family undone by superstition, the state, and the mortal convulsions of history. The story begins in 1618, 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, Katharina Kepler is accused of being a witch.
Katharina is an illiterate widow, known by her neighbors for her herbal remedies and rearing successful children, including her eldest, Johannes Kepler, who is the Imperial Mathematician and renowned author of the laws of planetary motion. It's enough to make anyone jealous, and Katharina has done herself no favors by being out and about and in everyone's business. So when the deranged and, quitee frankly, jealous as hell Ursula Reinbold accuses Katharina of witchcraft, Katharina 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, Katharina tells her side of the story to her friend and next-door neighbor Simon, a reclusive widower imperiled by his own secrets. The story of how a community becomes implicated in collective aggression and hysterical fear is a tale for our time.
288 pages. Hardcover.
About the Author
Rivka Galchen writes regularly for The New Yorker, whose editors selected her for their list of 20 Under 40 American fiction writers in 2010. Her debut novel Atmospheric Disturbances (2008) and her story collection American Innovations were both New York Times Best Books of the Year. She has received an MD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and currently lives in New York City.