Under the sugar maples of Montreal, family life is given mythic dimensions in this sweeping novella-in-verse.
If Dionysus and Ariadne lived in Montreal in the late twentieth century, would he serve veal stuffed with apples and paté de fois gras? Coach nubile young singers in a performance of L'Orfeo? Would Ariadne's thread be fashioned into tapestries of furious elegy in the face of environmental catastrophe? Would their marriage survive?
Amid a fictional marriage in a state of malaise and a real world on the edge of environmental disaster, Guttman lays open moments of vexation and tenderness, of grief, guilt, betrayal and love. Sounding through these moments are the harpsichord and the loom, drawing Donny and Ari, their sons Stephan and Onno, their corgie and their parrot, into the long weave of myth, art and human history.
Donny envies her the order of her threads, neatness of the loom, palettes of skeins piled high. Compare this to the score he must unwind, ingest, to play by heart. The orchestra accompanying the voices is Orfeo's lyre.
--from "Rehearsals: Mastery"
Praise for Naomi Guttman: "Richly detailed, passionate, witty, despairing, and brave, the lyric force of these poems conveys most of all a deep knowledge and love of a complex but recognizable world." -- Peter Meinke