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Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black…
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Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black

by Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgwick

Other authors: Alexis Deacon (Illustrator)

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Harry Black is a conscientious objector to the war; he is also an artist. His brother Ellis is a soldier; he is also a writer. They don't see eye-to-eye, however, both risk his their lives for his country. Harry is a firefighter—tasked with responding to the fires that break out during the devastating air raids on the city of London. In a rare wartime opportunity, Harry and his brother meet up for a beer at a London pub. Soon after they separate, the block where the pub stood is bombed to obliteration. Harry finds himself in the hospital in a hazy, surreal state of shock. Ellis' whereabouts are unknown. There is also a curious young German girl in the hospital—Agatha.

It is in this otherworldly scenario that Harry draws and thinks, and digs to the tune of an unknown musician who plays with great beauty amidst the horrors. The reader has the benefit of understanding the musician's purpose. The story is told in prose, in Harry's sketches, and in the haunting speech of the musician, whose words turn often to song,

"I've a story to tell of Harry Black,
who went to the Underworld and how he came back;
of the love for his brother, who'd pushed him away.
Of London by starlight, under attack,
of bombs falling, of people calling
through darkened streets,
of sirens and wayfarers, of lost souls,
of vicious women and mindless dogs.
These are the things of which I'll sing."

There are many books about WWII, the Kindertransport, the bombing of London. None are like this one. Read it.

More at: https://shelf-employed.blogspot.com/2019/06/voyages-in-underworld-of-orpheus-bla...

(My copy of Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black was provided by the publisher.) ( )
  shelf-employed | Jun 28, 2019 |
Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black by Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick is quite a journey. This book is not only beautiful with the drawings and poetry but also engaging and touching as the prose takes the reader on a journey.

Harry is a conscientious objector, wanted to be a war artist and is a firefighter. Harry’s brother, Ellis is on the front lines and a wedge is driven between the brothers because of their beliefs.

Always hoping for reconciliation with his brother, Harry meets with Ellis at a local pub. The pub is bombed later in the evening, injuring Harry. When Harry awakes, it’s to the news that his brother has been killed even though his body hasn’t been found. Harry begins his journey to try and find his brother, refusing to give up on him.

Harry’s commitment to finding his brother made my heart ache. He’s steadfast in spite of the fact that he’s injured, weak and losing touch with reality.

Perhaps because he’s injured, Harry begins to merge the plot of a story he’s writing, with his desperate hunt for his brother and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I was only vaguely familiar with the story of Orpheus and Eurydice but I found that didn’t matter as I made my way through this book.

The art in this book captures the stark reality of the way, with a strange intimacy that I didn’t expect. The drawings are detailed, sometimes tragic and very poignant. ( )
  Charlotte_Kinzie | Jun 20, 2019 |
Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black by Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick is quite a journey. This book is not only beautiful with the drawings and poetry but also engaging and touching as the prose takes the reader on a journey.

Harry is a conscientious objector, wanted to be a war artist and is a firefighter. Harry’s brother, Ellis is on the front lines and a wedge is driven between the brothers because of their beliefs.

Always hoping for reconciliation with his brother, Harry meets with Ellis at a local pub. The pub is bombed later in the evening, injuring Harry. When Harry awakes, it’s to the news that his brother has been killed even though his body hasn’t been found. Harry begins his journey to try and find his brother, refusing to give up on him.

Harry’s commitment to finding his brother made my heart ache. He’s steadfast in spite of the fact that he’s injured, weak and losing touch with reality.

Perhaps because he’s injured, Harry begins to merge the plot of a story he’s writing, with his desperate hunt for his brother and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I was only vaguely familiar with the story of Orpheus and Eurydice but I found that didn’t matter as I made my way through this book.

The art in this book captures the stark reality of the way, with a strange intimacy that I didn’t expect. The drawings are detailed, sometimes tragic and very poignant. ( )
1 vote Charlotte_Kinzie | Jun 20, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marcus Sedgwickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sedgwick, Julianmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Deacon, AlexisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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