Friday, March 08, 2019

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc. David Elliott. 2019. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I recall it as if it were yesterday.

Premise/plot: Voices is a verse novel starring Joan of Arc. Many of the poems are from Joan's point of view. But many are not. Those that are not almost steal the show--for better or worse. One perspective that we repeatedly hear from is FIRE. We also hear from a candle, a tree, a needle, cows, her virginity, a road, a sword, a dress, a tunic, her hair, an altar, her armor, an arrow, a pitchfork, a warhorse, a crossbow, etc. Sprinkled throughout are excerpts from the Trial of Condemnation and the Trial of Nullification.

My thoughts: My interest in Joan of Arc started with a super-catchy song from Horrible Histories. I've read a few books on her since then. This one is interesting if not a little too abstract. Some of the more abstract poems do use poetic forms from the middle ages. (Some of the human poems also use medieval forms.) So from a literary point of view--and not necessarily a reader's point of view--the book is fascinating.

I liked this one well enough. I wish we'd heard more from humans and less from objects and abstract concepts--virginity and victory to name just two. But I did really enjoy some of the poems. One of my favorites was a shape poem from a needle's point of view. The poem I liked least was 'The Sword' which was all about her holding "my manly parts."

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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