Spirited Away: Fairy stories of old Newfoundland
2018 Aesop Accolade (American Society of Folklore/Children's Folklore Division)
Newfoundland is rife with stories of fairies who mislead, play tricks, or sometimes, spirit folks away. A rustle of a leaf, a glint at the corner of one’s eye—these fairies lurk, menacing and amoral, at the edges of settled life.
The pages of Spirited Away are populated by people who wander onto fairy paths or fall under the spell of mysterious music, who find themselves lost in surroundings long familiar, or find family members grown strange—people irrevocably changed by their eerie encounters.
Passed on as rumours and whispers, told at a remove, stories of fairies are still heard today. These literary renderings of stories and anecdotes Tom Dawe has collected across the island offer an accessible and engaging introduction to one of Old Newfoundland’s most powerful and peculiar folk traditions.
Veselina Tomova’s darkly poetic wood-cut illustrations plumb the fascinating heart of these strange and affecting stories.
Spirited Away stands as a companion volume to Dawe and Tomova's chilling An Old Man's Winter Night: Ghostly Tales.
What folks are saying
"Dawe is a poet, which is reflected in his simple, but lyrical, text. Tomova’s sinister woodcuts, with their muted colours and grotesque figures, draw the reader deeper into the unsettling world of these dark fairies. Together, they’ve perfectly captured the sweet terror that comes when sitting by a flickering light and listening to unearthly tales."
– Charis Cotter in Quill & Quire (Read the full review.)
"Tom Dawe tells some disturbing stories in Spirited Away, enhancing the atmosphere with the flavour of Newfoundland and coastal Labrador. From the music to blueberry picking and the vocabulary much unknown to me ... these are the stories of the people of Newfoundland. Veselina Tomova's woodcut illustrations, in dark tones and snatches of light, reflect the very setting in which the fairies appear. These are not your Disney fairies. They are frightening, and Tom Dawe ensures that we know that they are real."
– Helen Kubiw on CanLit for Little Canadians (Read the full review.)