David Conway, author of Magic: An Occult Primer is by now famous for his writings on the paranormal, his prose leavened with humour and imbued with good sense, qualities that have endeared him to believers and sceptics alike.
In this fascinating autobiography he recounts the story of his life with candour and an infectious sense of fun. It begins in the Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth where, as a boy, he got to know the enigmatic Mr. James, farmer and reputed magician, then takes us farther afield to the grown-up world of London and beyond. For David Conway, farther afield was never far enough.
“Aberystwyth: a nostalgic yearning which is in itself more pleasant than the thing being yearned for. Douglas Adams and John Lloyd (after Alfred, Lord Tennyson): The Meaning of Liff (1983).
There are pretty babies and then there are the rest of us. Some babies are noisier than others. Mathonwy James was one. Scarcely had he drawn his first breath than he began to squeal. Many babies do, but few have squealed so loudly or for quite so long. The year was 1885 and it was the first day of October, a Thursday.
“He doesn’t like this wicked world,” observed the midwife, a staunch Methodist whose own view of the world did not amount to much either. Universally known as ‘Nurse’, but with no formal claim to the title, she went about the countryside delivering babies, caring for the sick and laying out the dead, this last job being the one she relished most. It was her custom to sing hymns as she busied herself with her corpses, a kind of musical viaticum that always ended with Lo, He standeth ’midst the Myrtles, a favourite of hers. Sometimes she’d hint that she and its com- poser, Ann Griffiths, née Thomas, were somehow related through an uncle, himself a Thomas, who’d lived near the farm where Ann Griffiths grew up. Few took her seriously. Wales is full of Thomases.
No sooner had the baby’s squeals been stilled than others, even louder, rent the crisp, autumnal air.
Thank you, David Conway and Love Books Group
About the author
David Conway is best known for his book Magic: An Occult Primer. He is a mystic and magus, whose profound knowledge, unique insights, and clear, accessible writing style have affected literary esoterica since the early 70s. The seventh child of a seventh child, David was reared in the seaside city of Aberystwyth, Wales. His education in magic began at an early age, studying with a local farmer, before embarking on his own inner Journey. David enjoyed a distinguished academic career followed by a rich and varied career as a civil servant working across the capitals of Europe.