Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 19th October 2017
A Pocketful of Crows is based on one of the Child ballads — specifically, ‘The Brown Girl‘. I have to say, I was pleased to see a retelling that isn’t based on one of the most well known stories or songs. The Child ballads are a huge resource of stories, some of which totally need retelling to make proper sense of them, but people often go for retelling the same stories over and over again. I haven’t seen anyone play with ‘The Brown Girl’ before, and it’s refreshing.
Joanne Harris’ writing has a lovely clarity to it; this book is just a dream to read, with a strong narrative voice. The things that frustrated me are things that frustrate me about the ballad as well — how does the girl not realise her lover’s insincere? Harris manages to make me believe it at times, but I still find it frustrating that she’s so naive. Mind you, it also makes sense, given the extra narrative Harris draws in: the story of Mother, Maiden, Crone. I love the way she weaves the ballad into that shape and makes it more than it is on the surface.
Definitely enjoyable, and I have a feeling the physical copy is going to be gorgeous.