ORFE by Cynthia Voigt
Kirkus Star

ORFE

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Enny and Orph are friends in grade school; bright and idiosyncratic, both are outcasts, but Orph helps Enny learn to face down the bullies who torment her with stories full of hate and pain. In the next of five chapters that move ever deeper into Orph's story, and its resonance with the myth of Orpheus, Enny describes their reunion in their teens, when she becomes Orph's manager. She helps Orph break away from an unsavory band (her hit is "It Makes Me Sick"--she literally vomits); they gather three more musicians and, in believable detail, become a success. Meanwhile, Orph falls in love with Yuri, a recovering addict, as lyrically recounted in chapter three; seeing her vomit on stage makes him realize that she voices his own angst and propels him to a cure; friends, then lovers, they decide to marry. Since each chapter covers a similar period (though the focus grows more intimate), the tragic conclusion is foreshadowed several times before the full account of the wedding, when Yuri's old "friends" trick him into taking drugs and lead him irretrievably away; and when Orph expresses her grief in concert, she is crushed by her mesmerized fans. The parallels here are intriguing; more, they enrich the modern tragedy. The mythic quality is enhanced by Voigt's carefully controlled focus: the luxuriant details of family and setting that she usually includes have been scrupulously excised. A powerful novel--brief and deceptively easy to read--that's fashioned with imagination and skill. (Fiction. 14+)

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0-689-31771-9
Page count: 120pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1992




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