When you can find me an acre of land,
Every sage grows merry in time,
Between the ocean and the sand
Then will you be united again.
(Inspired by The Child Ballads 2 & 19)
So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.
But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or herfreedom itself . . .
Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.
It’s blog tour day here at the Reading Closet, the day has come for me to finally be able to share my thoughts on the stunning mythological retelling of King Orfeo, with its gender binding spin. That book is Orfeia by Joanne M Harris. Thanks go to Anne Cater for the invite and spot on the tour, as well as to Gollancz for providing me with a gorgeous proof copy to read in preparation.
Orfeia was published in hardback and ebook on the 3rd of September (yup, the pubpocolypse!) and you can grab your own copy here.
Firstly, I’d like to address the beautiful artistic illustrations that you will find amongst the pages of this novella. The illustrations were created by Bonnie Hawkins and really help the reader to visualise Fay, but they also add an extra sprinkle if magic to the book itself. Not only will you find yourself admiring the beauty of Joanne’s spellbinding storyline, but also intoxicated by the images that run along side it.
When a person loses their marriage partner, they are given the label ‘widow’ but what is the name of the grief felt when someone loses a child? Fay has found herself heartbroken after her daughter Daisy dies. Fay has become used to a life as a widow, but what has she become now? How is she a mother without a child? From the beginning of Orfeia, your heartstrings are already tugged by the loss that Fay is drowning under, you’re standing in her fictional shoes and you can feel her pain. If you’ve not read King Orfeo, it is about a man who travels to the underworld to recover his wife who has died. Orfeia through her tragedy becomes immersed in a magical realm, one that she does not understand but one that she is prepared to come to terms with to save her Daisy. Orfeia is a dazzling novella about myth, motherhood and grief, one that will intoxicate you with the stunningly lyrical writing and will take you on a journey that will leave you quite breathless.
Orfeia is the first novel that I have read from Joanne M. Harris, and it won’t be my last – the gorgeousness of her penmanship, the ability to take the reader into a different realm and her storytelling ability is a magical one. I am very much a Joanne fan and she has a bookish backlog for me to devour! I call that a win!
Thanks again Anne for including me on the blog tour as always! You, yes you, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for other reviews from some cracking bloggers on this tour by using the hashtag #Orfeia. If you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought in the comments.
Until next time,