The Poison That Fascinates

by Jennifer Clement | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9781847671196 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingcanongatebookswing on 12/5/2008
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
10 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingcanongatebookswing on Friday, December 05, 2008
Part of the BookCrossing readalong of 22/1/2009.
Original thread:
More information about the book:,com_author_book/edition_id,1011/title_id,793/

Journal Entry 2 by wingkiwiinenglandwing from Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Friday, December 12, 2008
From the back cover - An irrestistible fable of faith, love and mortal sin

Abandoned by her mother as a baby, Emily now lives with her father in Mexico City. She works in the local Catholic orphanage. Life is simple. But when an enigmatic cousin, Santi, appears ont he doorstep, he brings family secrets, and Emily quickly finds that desire and temptation have overturned her straightforward life forever.

Thank you Cannongate books for providing this so I can participate in the readalong.

Journal Entry 3 by wingkiwiinenglandwing from Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This is the second time I have read this book, and I enjoyed it much more than the first time. I think this is because I took part in the readalong organised by Cannongate books.

The flow of words and use of language is delightful, and the use of facts on murders at the end of each chapter is a great use of the "greek chorus". The imagery of butterflies, and books, and orphans throughout the book is great.

I think however that the cousin who visits is so vile and nasty that Emily's reaction to him is incomprehensible at times (well, all the time really - but some times you can see why she may react that way and other times you want to hit her on the head and say "run away"!)

I recommend you read it for yourself and then go over to the forum and search out the thread "The Poison That Fascinates" read-along, hosted by Canongatebooks. There you will find a chapter by chapter discussion of the book.

Journal Entry 4 by wingkiwiinenglandwing at Manchester, Greater Manchester United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Released 11 yrs ago (2/7/2009 UTC) at Manchester, Greater Manchester United Kingdom



I am sending this as a RABCK to a fellow bookcrosser, as a thank you for picking out a very enjoyable book for me to read at Christmas time. I hope she likes it.

Journal Entry 5 by cerimello from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Thank you for the kind gift, my wife and I will be reading the book very soon.

Journal Entry 6 by rem_XIV-590003 on Sunday, August 02, 2009
While hubby reads the book i'm taking the liberty of starting a bookray with this copy. I posted my thoughts on it on my other copy's JE.

Please try not to keep it longer than a month, but if you must that's fine, just let me know. Thank you*

shipping order:
arturogrande ~ UK
catflap ~ UK
penelopewanders ~ Switzerland
cassiopaeia ~ UK
mafarrimond ~ UK
hyphen8 ~ US

Journal Entry 7 by arturogrande from Coalville, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Sunday, November 22, 2009
Arrived - thanks very much.

Journal Entry 8 by arturogrande from Coalville, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Sunday, March 14, 2010
First of all, let me begin by apologising for having held onto this book for so long and for holding the ring up. A lot of things happened all at once, so I didn't have a lot of reading time.
I found this book totally gripping, although I too couldn't really see why Emily was so attracted to Santi, who was quite a horrible character. I didn't see 'it' coming (not wanting to give too much away), and when the truth was revealed, it cast a new and appalling light on everything that had gone before.
The language was lovely, and the use of murder details at the end of each chapter worked very well.
I'm really glad I read this book - sorry again for the delay in getting it moving along. I'm just waiting for an address for catflap and then it will be off on its travels once more.

Journal Entry 9 by arturogrande from Coalville, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Sunday, March 21, 2010
I've not had any reply from catflap about this ring, so I'm now waiting for an address from penelopewanders.

Journal Entry 10 by arturogrande from Coalville, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Saturday, April 03, 2010
On its way to penelopewanders.

Journal Entry 11 by wingpenelopewanderswing from Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Saturday, April 10, 2010
This was waiting here, along with a few other rings, when I returned from holiday. I'll try to get through them all as quickly as possible. Thanks for sending and thanks for making this available.

Journal Entry 12 by wingpenelopewanderswing from Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Sunday, April 18, 2010
Very strange book, this reminded me a bit of the Latin American surrealists (Marquez, Borges, etc)- not only because of the setting in Mexico. It's a quick read actually, but rather creepy. PMing the next in line.


This is now on its way to the UK. Thanks for making it available!

Journal Entry 14 by wingCassiopaeiawing from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Arrived safely today, thank you penelopewanders. I love to receive packets with real stamps, thank you so much, I'm collecting them for Thatu. Only my present book before this, so hopefully won't be delayed.

Journal Entry 15 by wingCassiopaeiawing from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, May 13, 2010
This is my second reading of this book. Following a discussion I read on Book Group Online, on the ending, I decided I couldn't remember enough detail and wanted to look it up again but alas my copied was well on it's way forward and is hopefully out there somewhere in the unknown waiting to resurface. Here is my original JE.

'This was an unusual but very enjoyable read which I found difficult to put down. The story and format has a surreal and exotic tinge to it, Emily, her father, Mother Agata and Santiago flit in and out creating an intriguing atmosphere.

Clement succeeds in evoking an unusual sense of place; the heat, the rain, the library filled with books and old furniture, the dogwood and sweetbriar in the garden, the orphanage with its scent of coffee, the closet full with metal leg braces, the elusive smell of melons, the children and of course the never ending saints. I found my senses immersed in this wonderful setting while slowly the truth was unfolding and at some uncertain point I realised...

Emily is skilfully and subtly drawn, always slightly understated. She and Santi are endowed with slightly ethereal (and in his case unsettling) qualities, and she in particular is being put in context, much is left unsaid but the clues abound. This is a well constructed and beautifully executed story, the ending fits like a second skin.'

This second reading was from a different perspective and of course I noticed more malevelence in the small details. But what did you make of the ending?

Click here to show spoiler!

So who do you think the two knives were for? The cook's knife and the oyster knife, possibly lying side by side in the drawer. As she withdraws them 'Emily remembers Saint Placid. He is invoked agains chills.' Opinions differ on this and the author herself hasn't revealed what she thinks happened. Maybe there are a number of answers. The obvious one of course is Santi, he has deceived her and lied to her, that is his undoing, but the second knife, is it for herself or her father or even possibly Mother Agata, both of whom have lied to her, but for her protection rather than her distruction as in Santi's case? My conclusion is the same as the first time; it was for Emily herself. She would kill him first, them lying beside him wearing his clothes she would end her own life and their blood would mingle as brother and sister, as lovers and as deceiver and deceived, to obliterate the wrong that had been done.

Maybe there are some clues on pages 4, 34, 108 and 204. Any other ideas would be interesting.
Will now go and read the Cannongate Book thread that KiE recommends.

Thank you KiE for including me in this bookring. I'm waiting to hear from mafarrimond before posting.

Journal Entry 16 by wingCassiopaeiawing at Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Sunday, May 16, 2010

Released 10 yrs ago (5/16/2010 UTC) at Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom



In the post today to mafarrimond in North Wales.

Journal Entry 17 by mafarrimond from Hawarden, Wales United Kingdom on Friday, May 21, 2010
The book has arrived safely. I will read as soon as I am able.

Journal Entry 18 by mafarrimond at Hawarden, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, June 21, 2010
I loved the unusual layout of the book with obscure facts presented at the end of each chapter. The story progressed smoothly and I felt greatly attached to the protagonist Emily. Whilst I foresaw the twist, it was still shocking.

Journal Entry 19 by mafarrimond at Hawarden, Wales United Kingdom on Friday, June 25, 2010

Released 10 yrs ago (6/25/2010 UTC) at Hawarden, Wales United Kingdom


On its way to the next participant.

Journal Entry 20 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Tuesday, July 06, 2010
This book was waiting for me when I got home from vacation. Of course, after almost two weeks, I'm way behind on everything, but I'll get to this book as soon as I can.

Any word on where it's supposed to go next?

Journal Entry 21 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Odd, creepy, but still fairly enjoyable.

I thought Santi was a jerk, and I suspected what Emily would find out, but I liked the stuff about the saints and the orphans.

Waiting to hear back from Rossella05 so I know where to send this next.

Rosella05 said I can find a new home for this book, so I will.

Journal Entry 22 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, August 08, 2010

Released 10 yrs ago (8/9/2010 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA


Since I was at the end of the bookray, I need to find a new reader for this book. I'm mailing it to PrettyPoodle so she can send it off into the world.


This book was set free to find a new reader; I'm so glad you've found it!

If you're new to Bookcrossing, I hope you will take some time to explore this wonderful free and anonymous community and learn about what it has to offer.

Free your books - help spread the words!

Journal Entry 23 by wingNTCRRS-OBCZwing at Norristown, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, August 25, 2010
THANK YOU!!! These will be a fabulous addition to the NTCRRS - OBCZ shelves!

Journal Entry 24 by wingNTCRRS-OBCZwing at NTCRRS-OBCZ in Norristown, Pennsylvania USA on Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (12/28/2010 UTC) at NTCRRS-OBCZ in Norristown, Pennsylvania USA


Headed to the local OBCZ!

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