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The Hypnotist In the dead of night Pip is plucked from an orphanage and hired as a farm hand But Pip is black The farmer and his wife are white And this is 1960’s America where race defines youJack Morrow has left his native Ireland dreaming of a new life in the American Deep South He has certain skills that he mostly keeps hidden Skills in hypnotism and mind controlPip and Jack’s lives become inextricably linked as the heat of racial tension builds to a terrifying storm”Part thriller part love story this extraordinary debut novel looks at where life can take you when your expectations are greatOfficially endorsed by Amnesty International The Hypnotist was hailed by The Bookseller in their ‘Ones to Watch’ section as ‘gripping compelling storytelling with a powerful anti racist message’

10 thoughts on “The Hypnotist

  1. says:

    2018 CARNEGIE LONGLIST BOOK 1520 Looking back I'm changing my rating to two stars because this book realy was not exceptional and there were a load of things that annoyed me about it I do think that this was an interesting idea But I could kind of tell it was a debut novel? It felt like there was to give to come and that's okay because first novels aren't always perfect I feel like this was maybe not as powerful as it could have been And I found it hard to separate the sciency stuff from the magicy stuff? It didn't really work for me personally The story is definitely uite dark Pip is a black boy in America at the highest point of racial tension This book covers topics such as racism and the KKK I don't really know enough about this subject to comment on it but I do think this book does a good job enlightening people to it and its horrors The book wasn't problematic in any way and I really liked the themes of hope and the fact that not all the characters are horrible It made the book a pleasant experience I do have mixed opinions on the characters though I really love Lilabelle or is it Lilybelle? and her unending positivity She is a very inspirational character I also really liked Hannah The short chapterpoem things from her POV are a really nice addition to the book They were both sweet and sad I found Pip a bit flat but the character who really rubbed me off the wrong way was Jack Morrow I don't know why I think it was maybe just the way his voice spoke in his first person narrative but he was just really annoying Sorry Jack Also I wasn't enamoured with the fact that the book kept changing POV I think I would have enjoyed the book had it just been in the third person all the way through Maybe that is just because I prefer third person or maybe because I really disliked the way that Jack came across in his chapters but it would have honestly improved the book so much for me personally I find it irritating when a book changes POV because there always seems to be one you dislike in most cases which can dampen your enjoyment of the story And I wasn't 100% keen on the hypnotism thing? Yes I hear you saying THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE BOOK but I guess it is just personal taste And I lost my taste for it through the ever irritating Jack Morrow or doctor jack morrow to use his full moniker yes this is very annoying after he has said it about 10 times So yeah this was interesting but not exceptional But I feel like this is a case of me not the book So no hard feelings This is a heavy book that some readers might find disturbing so I will give you that warning before you go into it But if this sounds like your kind of thing go for it

  2. says:

    uite a combination of elements They work though A very different book The Cure for Dreaming combined female emancipation and hypnotism in a story of women's rights in the early 20th centuryHere we are placed in the 1960s in a time and place where Jim Crow rules where the KKK work discreetly with violence to instil fear An orphaned black boy Pip named after his schoolteacher mother's favourite Dickens novel is taken from the orphanage to a Southern white owned farm to work as farmhand The farmer is less than friendly but his wife is desperate for a child to read to her and Pip reads from his mother's copy of Great Expectations and warms uickly to the obese but motherly woman he works for A Native American girl also works for them but is muteThe second strand to the story and second narrator offers us an outside glimpse of Pip's life Jack Morrow Irish neighbour to the farm and local professor and expert in hypnosis watches as Pip struggles to fit into his new life and into the community where black people are less than fairly treated and where racist incidents are a regular occurrence Especially as the farm owner's grown son is soon hellbent on ridding the place of Pip Pip Jack and soon the mute Hannah are caught together in an exciting tale of survival Jack's skills of hypnotism are integral to their tale and Great Expectations is also skilfully interwoven into the plotWith real life KKK atrocities part of the story and insights into the organisation this feels dangerous There's a love element some mystery and some appealing characters throughoutI was reminded of a recent read Beck by Mal Peet Meg Rosoff with some basic elements of the plot but this really is uite uniue and intenseOthers have compared it favourably to 'Mockingbird' and I can see why with some similar themes While it's not in the same league it will be excellent material for someone reading Harper Lee as a set text as usual follow up it is excellent for discussion material on 1960s civil rights background history uite violent in places and could be uite upsetting to younger readers so I would recommend this to KS3 and above in particular those age 14 and above

  3. says:

    When Pip is bought and paid for at an orphanage he is worried for his future But the worn skinny old man called Mr Zachary who 'adopts' him seems kind enough on the long drive back to his farm as he explains what he wants Pip to do Since Pip was the only boy who could read at the orphanage he was the perfect candidate to read to Zachary’s bed ridden wife LillybellePip is shocked when he meets her but they soon build a positive relationship as he covers her every need and reads from his copy of Great Expectations a gift from his mother before his parents died in a car accident There is another young teen at the farm Beautiful mute Hannah – an American Indian who Pip thinks is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seenBut life on Dead River Farm isn’t all sweet The Zachary’s have a son called Erwin an angry Negro hating Vietnam vet and also a leader of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan His parents warn Pip to stay out of his way and Pip does just that at least until the day Erwin finally catches himThis story is told in two viewpoints – Pip’s story in 3rd person and the Zachary’s neighbour Jack Morrow in 1st person Jack is a university professor from Ireland and an excellent hypnotist He's been watching the goings on next door with increasing worry Can he help?Let Mr Morrow hypnotise you with this story and see how Pip Hannah and the Zachary’s cope with the evil of the Ku Klux KlanBrilliantly written Absolutely loved it A bit ‘Mocking Bird’ a bit ‘Shawshank’ – a great piece of story hypnotism

  4. says:

    This book is very different from most of the others and I cant believe it myself but I am almost pitying Erwin for his mental instability However that does not mean in any way I pity him I pity his family I pity his victims And I feel like this book is pitiful Jack or Doctor Jack Morrow to use his full moniker starts off being very funny and very enjoyable to listen to I didn't like the second person narration at the start because it's different his personality was very innocent bright and set the wrong tone for the book ahead I thought wasting two pages on trying to hypnotise the reader was very uncomfortable to read and uite desperate However it linked into the story and explained a few scenes later Then the author introduced Pip and his sad background which made it clear despite the title that he was the main character and the hero of the story I didn't like the way they introduced Mr Zachery I thought teaching to smoke and setting him as a rough mean guy was setting him on to be an evil character and then telling Pip he had lost boys before confirmed it It happened to be the second deceiving character out of many I know this is historically accurate and this is what would have been seen as normal for the time period I think for today it would be seen as horrible because the racial tensions happening at that timeThen there was Hannah whom I thought could not have been any stronger despite her growth at the end I thought the relationship between her and Pip was a bit out of the blue and should have been delayed a bit I LOVED however her little songs every now and again it gives the reader clever and selective insight into what she was thinking and what was going on nobody else in the story new However what annoyed me was that it was only a couple of pages later that someone else new about it and the matter was completely solved or it was no longer a secretLilybelle whom Pip was told to look after was a very light hearted woman that anybody could be friends with However once she grew she faced prejudices of her own none of her friends would talk to her she was scary and looked on as lazy However when Pip leaves for a week she gets better Mr Zachery looks after her Their is physical improvements And it just makes Pip happy as it is seem useless and unable Then there is the theme of things I don't know enough about racial history in America To comment to the deserved extent however I believe the author has described explained and captured enough of what it was like to really interest and teach the reader the different view points However there were pockets in the book where that was forgotten Back to Jack his role at first was unclear the blurb said he would meet pip and they would become Inextricably linked it was slow at first however I felt that was needed because the author had tied himself a knot With a friendly hypnotise he could get out of any situation he could solve all their problems without a blink And this slowed and lost the book some meaning when they went traveling they got out of all situations they hypnotised everyone who gave them a tiny bit of trouble And this is where there the book falls Pip had lost the meaning or main character yes they were doing everything for him yes he was the person originally in trouble However he became a whinging child Hannah was suffering and jack became the hero every time The book became very slow there were several small revelations however when the big event happened it was jack who saved the day while Pip was asleep and that was all that happened Jack's happy innocent personality had to change because of his new role in the story and in most cases that would be okay however the change was of a destruction he lost nearly all of any personality and he was jumping back and forward from being angry scared and nosy to being kind parental and heroic The book became magical for random events magically stopped all other events and none of the characters were touched or ever put in really danger

  5. says:

    I was given an ARC of The Hypnotist to review and I thought this was one of the best books I've read in a long time Can't recommend it highly enough

  6. says:

    Set in the Deep South of the American 1960’s a black orphan boy a mute Native American servant girl and an Irish Neurology professor are an unlikely suad In a society overwhelmed by prejudice they must employ all of their courage cunning and wit to free themselves from their oppressorsThis book is amazing Here at Book Box Club we loved it so much we featured it in our Freedom Suad themed October box and we were thrilled to get the chance to chat to Laurence in our members only online book club with our members The Hypnotist is so brilliantly written; it has been months and months since I read it but some of the scenes have really stuck with me and I still find myself daydreaming about the characters There is no getting around it the subject matter is tough reading in parts but that is one of the things I loved about it; Laurence doesn't pull any punches and despite the setting in this dark period of America's alarmingly recent history this story is full of tenderness in Pip's relationships with the people around him It is rare that characters in YA are so beautifully described and diverse and for me they are the most refreshing things about this book It was great to hear about the real stories that went into The Hypnotist and Laurence's inspiration to write the novel in our book group meeting and I strongly suggest anyone interested look up his website for information on that We will certainly carry on recommending this wonderful book to everyone for years to come

  7. says:

    A powerful book If I'd had time to read it in one session I would have done so It was interesting to read that the author's family Jews from Persia who fled the country as refugees from racist policies in the 17th century came from the town of ShushanSusa where the story of Esther the heroine who saved her people from the racist vizier Haman is set Anyway this and his father's experiences as a member of British Intelligence during and just after WWII inspired this novel The author wanted to write about his ancestors but it was too close to home for the moment As historical fiction it works very well Perhaps a half star down because it's not really YA though marketed as such The main characters Pip and Hannah are teenagers yes but we also get plenty of viewpoint from the other protagonist Jack Morrow the hypnotist of the title a university academic who is doing great things with dealing with what we now call PTSD I don't know how our students will react to the adult viewpoint though the better readers are uite capable of enjoying adult books I also can't help wondering whether a hypnotist can do uite the things Jack does in the novel as easily as he does It feels almost like Obi Wan Kenobi with his These aren't the droids you're looking for We can go about our businessStill a very readable book which I enjoyed greatly

  8. says:

    I am not able to give this book a rating as I didn't finish it However from the parts I did read I can tell you It is well written Fx I sometimes struggle when writers decide to write out drawls and accents but in this book it was just alright The Main Characters are all really interesting Every one from the Caucasian Irish Neurology Professor to the Black Orphan teenager and the Mute Native American girl Together they all have interesting back stories and I really liked all three of them The story is set in the 60's and features the fight against racism I just couldn't read it The scenes made me uncomfortable As in they were hard to read without getting too affected Basically I'm one of those people who lives through all the slightly scary things by saying It's not real it's just fiction But with this book I couldn't do that In fact the few scenes I did read wasn't hard to imagine happening right now todaySo do I recommend this book? Definitely It's been said to be great for people who liked The Book Thief Haven't read that yet so I wouldn't knowI will most likely attempt to read this another time

  9. says:

    I think this probably could have been a good story but it's so badly written It's disjointed and sloppy It even changes tense for a chapter The lessons it seeks to teach are very heavy handed and all it does is cheapen the writing Still my biggest problem is Jack Not only is he annoying as hell but the book beats you over the head with his Irishness but it's clear that very little research was done on Ireland If you can't accurately write an Irish protagonist don't do it

  10. says:

    While Anholt's writing is often enthralling I would be much interested to read the fictionalisation of antisemitism he had originally intended to write about Unlike his authorial note that ‘colour prejudice can work both ways’ it is imperative that children are taught to understand racism and particularly anti Black racism as historically rooted and systemically sustained All prejudice is wrong and anyone can be prejudiced towards anyone of any colour But the institutions and systems upon which Western societies were built and continue to operate are specifically anti Black and must be understood as such; racism must be taught in context The problem with this book is that the author has failed to understand and to represent the systemic nature of specifically anti Black racism in the US As a result the novel's treatment of racism is often age inappropriate and seems to jar with its predominantly light hearted humorous tone Although not intentional this has the effect of minimising and caricaturing making serious topics unbelievable and racist behaviour incomprehensibleLynchingsNear the end of the book Hannah describes to Pip how she witnessed the boys who used to work at Dead River Farm ‘swinging side by side in the poplar tree’ Without information about how and why lynchings are perpetrated children will neither comprehend this scene nor understand it as the conseuence of a hate fuelled public celebration of extreme racially motivated violence; the logical conclusion to the process of dehumanisation made inevitable by White supremacy What’s because the boys are unnamed and under described they are merely ‘the twins’ it is hard for readers particularly young readers to emotionally process the scene and its significance Because the novel's several descriptions of lynchings lack proper contextualisation they risk perpetuating the process of dehumanisation and even trivialising these unimaginable acts of inhumanity The KKKThere is a well described moment where Jack considers calling the police to report the activities of the KKK at Dead River before realising 'with a feeling of absolute dismay' that he had witnessed patrol cars attending the initiation ceremony This along with the discovery of Professor Cerberus’ participation is an effective demonstration of institutional racism and its wide reaching terrifying implications However the actual depictions of members of the KKK in the novel are somewhat disarming For example Cerberus presents as a charming affable man who continually asserts that the KKK is simply misunderstood Rather than conveying the idea that racism can exist anywhere this downplays the extreme nature of Cerberus' beliefs portraying him as deluded rather than culpable Erwin too is at times abominable and at other times sympathetic he is ‘out of his mind’ and just wants to be a ‘good soldier’ By recasting these ‘villains’ as misguided antagonists the author somewhat absolves them of responsibility for their White supremacy and detracts from the abhorrence of this ideologyAnd this perhaps would be understandable if it were to make the wider point that in a society built on the premise of White supremacy everyone has the potential to be or become racist Unfortunately the novel’s characters contradict this notionErwin’s 'conversion' occurs in Vietnam as a result of his PTSD addiction and indoctrination as if this perfect storm was his initiation into radicalisation rather than its catalystZachary and Lillybelle ‘had not been racists in fact there had been many non White employees on the family farm’ translation some of their best friends were Black” This runs contrary to all other information The couple do not employ the ‘non White’ children they enslave them Pip is literally 'bought' for 75 the children receive no financial recompense for their work at Dead River and they are warned never to leave the farm on pain of death To depict Zachary and Lillybelle as harmless or even benevolent eventually ‘releasing’ the children without critiuing their contradictory and racist behaviour provokes uestions around how much the author understands the topics his novel explores And herein lies the rub Ultimately despite good intentions there are some worrying and contradictory messages in this book which would not exist if the author had experienced the specific type of racism he seeks to explore

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