Unlike so many books that explore the betrayal of friendship and of trust, this book upholds the precious sanctity of love that transcends even death. I can never read this book without knowing that the atheists are wrong, that love does transcend all other petty emotions and delusions, that writers can change our worlds and that miracles happen.
What made the Orchard miraculous though was an old railway carriage in the far corner, set down as if by magic, its wheel gone, anchored by long grass and nettles, with brambles barring its door.’ ( p.22 The Orchard of Fire)
‘The look of words, the way they affect one another, the reactive colours of individual letters and numbers, the characters of characters have always fascinated me…’ ( Shena Mackay, ‘The Language of Cats’, In The Agony and the Ego edited by Clare Boylan)
Mackay’s brilliant evocation of childhood through the reanimation of the sanctuary that is the ‘orchard’ communicates the singularity and uniqueness of this very intimate place; a paradise thought to be irrevocably lost but courageously regained through a sacred gift of remembrance which brings the ‘fire’ of communion and enduring love.
‘Ruby dips a plait into paint water in Art and scatters an arc of tinted droplets over the blue absorbent sugar paper….’ (p215 orchard)
Who needs magical realism when we have Shena MacKay?!
The Woman in Black
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