The stunning new novella from No 1 bestselling author Joanne Harris: Orfeia is a gender-flipped retelling of the Orpheus Myth, beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins.
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.
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 her freedom itself . . .
Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French writer, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories.
Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy.
In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. CHOCOLAT has sold over a million copies in the UK alone and was a global bestseller.
She is an Honorary Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16 and runs the musical storytelling show Storytime.
Joanne lives with her husband in Yorkshire, about 15 miles from the place she was born.
As a Joanne Harris fan, I knew this book would be a treat but I didn’t know how much it would be for a fairy tale and mythology nerd like me.
Inspired by the myth of Orpheus, who travels to the Underworld of Hades to bring his wife Eurydice back to the living world, this magical novella sees Fay descend to Death’s realm to ask for her daughter Daisy’s life back.
Along the way she encounters the fairy King Alberon who tries to convince her to stay in his realm, the Night Train full of the dead, that never stops, and other strange beings, like a singing tiger.
I could see shades of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, the story of Persephone, and so many others peeking out through this beautiful tale. I also liked the inclusion of the correction about who perches atop the fountain in Piccadilly Circus – it’s not Eros, but Anteros.
Which also features stunning illustrations, conjuring images of Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market, and the otherworldly creatures that haunt traditional folklore.
This is altogether an absolute delight, a tale of love and loss, both a retelling and a completely new myth.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.