“My plaid away, my plaid away,
And o’er the hill and far away,
And far away to Norroway,
My plaid shall not be blown away.“
Oh, how I love a fairy tale retelling. They are so deeply immersive and, when well-written, pick you up and spirit you away to another world.
Orfeia is a retelling of the Orpheus myth (a quick recap – Orpheus’ wife Eurydice died and Orpheus went to the underworld to beg for her life. The gods allowed her release as long as Orpheus did not look back at her as they travelled back to the land of the living. Unable to do so, Orpheus looked back and Eurydice was gone forever). Orfeia draws on the themes of death and grief, but focuses instead on a mother and her daughter.
As with all of Harris’ work, the story is beautifully told. Magic weaves through it and you question dreams and reality. I rushed through the book in a few sittings, swept away by the enchanting tale, and it would be perfect for a chilly autumn evening- by the fire with a glass of wine.
The book is illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins (who also illustrated A Pocketful of Crows and The Blue Salt Road) and the beautiful drawings bring Harris’ words to life.