HomeGeneral Interest

Shine, M - Mesmerised (2nd Hand)

An exerpt from Michelle's wonderful novel...

January 1863

I buy pure phosphorus from an old alchemist who lives in a slanted house on the hill that leads to Montmartre. His wife, Madame Armand, has a small plot of land where she grows vegetables and flowers to sell at the market. Many of the brown bottles in my collection contain fluids that were distilled from her produce.

      In Monsieur Armand’s laboratory, in the middle of the afternoon, all shutters remain closed. Thin streams of light trespass and fall in diagonal lines across glass vessels. Tubes lead from one to the other in a world of liquids that bubble and fizz.

   ‘This is a very combustible material.’ Leaning on his stick, he licks his lips, wrinkles deepening in concentration under strands of white hair.

      ‘Monsieur Armand, I really appreciate this. I know that you originally acquired the substance for yourself.’

      'Shh, say no more,’ he says, his free hand at my back. 

      A baby cries.

      ‘That’s Madeleine, my grandchild,’ he says, eyes lit. ‘What are you going to do with the phosphorus?’

      ‘I’m going to make a homeopathic remedy.’

      ‘What’s that?’ He pulls down a book from a splintery shelf behind him. Dust puffs into the air like face powder in a thespian’s dressing room.

      ‘No,’ he says, opening the leather-bound and gilt-edged tome. ‘It’s not mentioned here. And therefore …’ He claps the pages shut using the outer cover, ‘… it does not exist.’

If you love fiction and you love homeopathy, you'll think this book wonderful.  And even if you don't, it's still a wonderful art history novel!  Beautifully written, I couldn't put it down.
Write a review and share your thoughts with other shoppers.
Condition New
Weight 0.35kg