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Magel's Daughter - Nancy Baker

Everyone in the Olina family, living and dead, knows that Magel keeps human body parts in her freezer. From the beginning of the novel, the provocative nature of the text defies the Minnesota-nice stereotype, which is, at once, refreshing and original. Magel s Daughter highlights the deadly manipulations and subterfuge of matriarchal power within a Norwegian family. It is a dark comedy with a touch of magical realism. On the surface it s a rapidly paced, episodic blitz through the last days of Karin Brix s sanity. She s lost it by the end, and it s all her mother s fault. Magel is a classic femme fatale who grows old and spoils everyone s lives just like her mother and her mother before her. is is all set in Northern Minnesota, a chilly world of hallucination, incest, and severed heads. Magel is the reigning matriarch of the family, and Karin is on her way to becoming just like her, struggling to regain herself as an artist after years of raising her two sons. Karin is assisted in her endeavors by the hallucinations of her grand and great-grandmothers. Karin s father s glass eye weaves through her imagination as the only sound counsel amid the chaos.

Author Bio:
Magel's Daughter is Nancy's first published novel, and the sequel is Magel's Ghost. The stories are dark comedies laced with magical realism, and take place in her home state of Minnesota.
She has finished her third novel, Island Adrift, the first in The Mac Books series. The novel is also laced with magical realism while giving us a more serious base to the storyline. She is currently working on the next book in the series.
Her education has taken a varied and unusual route. She holds a BFA from the College
of Art and Design in Minneapolis and worked in graphic design for ten years. At the
same time she took night classes at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis,Minnesota, and has been writing ever since.
Early in her writing career, she tried her hand at children's stories and adult short stories.
She is married and the mother of four children who supply her with endless material.


My Opinion:
Have you ever read a book that you rather didn't like, but kept reading with glimmers of hope it would get better? That's exactly how I felt reading this odd story.
Normally when I hear about a book that seems different, I jump all over reading it. This was different but just too odd for me.
There were times when I wasn't sure if the author knew which setting to be in. A Norweigan family with strong American roots, or an American family with strong Norweigan ties.
I did appreciate Karin and her love triangle. All too often they happen, and that was actually the most interesting part of the whole book for me. Completely opposite of how I felt when reading the first line and it being about keeping body parts in the freezer. That intrigued me. It's why I read the book, but it got lost from there. Magel is a great character, but oddly not the focus.
A total let down for me. Sorry troops!


~I received a copy from the author. I was not compensated for my opinion.~


  1. The synopsis sounded like it had promise. It's a shame the book didn't live up to it.


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