Rich and Strange: “The Boatman’s Cure” by Sonya Taaffe

Happy New Year, and welcome back to Rich and Strange! I took a bit of a break over the holidays — in order to, among other things, move back to Ottawa from Glasgow — but the series is back, and the first instalment of the new year looks at Sonya Taaffe’s novella “The Boatman’s Cure,” which concludes her most recent poetry collection, Ghost Signs. Here’s a bit from the review:

In a collection—indeed, a congress—of ghosts, echoes, memories, and homages to ancient Greek literature, “The Boatman’s Cure” is a breath-taking culmination of its approaches and themes, a magnificent finale the intensity of which is derived from its quiet tension. Delia can see and interact physically with ghosts, and has discovered, through a great deal of trial and error, reliable ways of exorcising them; a personal quest requires her to obtain an oar with a strange history from an even stranger source. Nothing goes smoothly—except the beautiful structure of the story, which mimics the movement of an oar through water.

I adore Sonya’s poetry and have published it numerous times in Goblin Fruit, but I think this may be my first encounter with her prose, and it’s just incredible. I highly recommend the whole collection.


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