Orlam by PJ Harvey

Liz Berry at The Guardian:

A novel-in-verse written in dense Dorset vernacular, Orlam is a curious and enchanting thing. Like a dark poetic almanac, it charts, month by month, a year in which its heroine, nine-year-old Ira-Abel Rawles, leaves behind the innocence of her childhood.

Orlam takes the reader by the hand, with each poem laid out opposite its “standard” translation and an abundance of footnotes to illuminate a hoard of folklore. This doubling slows down the reader who cares to be slowed, allowing them to puzzle out the dialect words and the way they change the poems.

Ira’s world is a magical realist outpost of the West Country where PJ Harvey grew up. Conjured through tightly rhyming poems, often taking the form of songs or incantations, the village of Underwhelem appears: “Voul village in a hag-ridden hollow. / All ways to it winding, all roads to it narrow.”

more here.