WHITE SORCERESS by Alice Wellman


Email this review


After ""drifting through these years of social change--the troubled 1960's,"" Laurie Reade is on her way back to Angola to rejoin her doctor father and the loyal native servants who seem to be his only contact with Africa. Independence is in the wind and Dad approves, but it is destined to be postponed until all sides have demonstrated their affection for Laurie, who is respected as a ""white sorceress"" after she outdances a village medicine woman to save a girl marked for human sacrifice. Later, when Laurie and her companions are captured by a band of ""leopard men"" cultists, her ""white magic"" again causes their lives to be spared. (""They dare not touch Miss Laurie. Or let her shadow fall on them. She opens her first-aid kit. They say it is a charm bag."") And again, when a band of men surround the doctor's house, Laurie holds them off by waving her magic humbi-humbi feather until the arriving rescue plane sends them fleeing in terror. Wellman grew up in Angola and covered pretty much the same ground in The Wilderness Has Ears (1975). There it was a younger girl who became a heroine to one of the tribes; here, the awe accorded a nineteen-year-old coed is even less becoming. Wrap that up with comments about how ""rhythm was as much a part of the African nature as laughter,"" how sorcerers have dominated the ""sensitive minds"" of the natives and the assurance that ""even the meekest and humblest"" will rebel if exploited long enough, and you have enough white magic to lay a curse of mumbo-jumbo on Miss Laurie and all her works.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 1976
Publisher: Putnam