Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch

Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch

Rivka Galchen

The plague is spreading.
The hundred year war is beginning.
Katharina Kepler is believed to be a witch.

The startling, witty, highly anticipated second novel from the critically acclaimed author of Atmospheric Disturbances.

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 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 Katharina 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 Katharina calls her, the Werewolf) accuses Katharina of offering her a bitter, witchy drink that has made her ill, 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.

Drawing on real historical documents but infused with the intensity of imagination, sly humor, and intellectual fire for which Rivka Galchen is known, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch will both provoke and entertain. The story of how a community becomes implicated in collective aggression and hysterical fear is a tale for our time. Galchen’s bold new novel touchingly illuminates a society and a family undone by superstition, the state, and the mortal convulsions of history.

Reviews of Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch

    • Praise for Atmospheric Disturbances:
    • ‘Playful yet profound, Murakami-esque yet original, analytical yet heartbreaking. It’s an absolutely stunning and unforgettable debut’ Vendela Vida, author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name
    • ‘A powerful novel about love, longing, Doppler radar, and the true appreciation of a nice cookie with your tea. Atmospheric Disturbances is fantastic’ Nathan Englander, author of The Ministry of Special Cases
    • ‘A novel of Borgesian erudition, wit, and playfulness, though its obsessively pursued subject is love, the enraptured lover, and the mystery of the beloved, the intersection of love’s fictions, realities, and pathologies … The prose jumps with one astonishing observation, insight, and description after another. Atmospheric Disturbances delivers unforgettable joy’ Francisco Goldman, author of The Divine Husband
    • Praise for Little Labours:
    • ‘Little Labours triumphantly breaks the silent embargo, demonstrating how these little ‘bundles of joy’ can transcend cloying cliché to spark fantastic flights of the imagination and critical introspection’ Financial Times
    • ‘Odd, witty, nimble … A stimulating read, a curio, for any woman, mother or not, interested in a unique slant on new parenthood’ Observer
    • ‘She writes about her new baby as a puma; a plucked chicken; a force of nature that blows her apart and then puts her back together, different. A micro-masterpiece written in short, sharp, hallucinatory fragments’ Irish Times