Loreto Todd,
A Fire in His Head:
Stories of Wandering Aengus

(O'Brien, 2002)

The Song of Wandering Aengus is a short poem, just three stanzas of eight lines each, by W.B. Yeats. It describes a magical meeting, a sudden parting and a lengthy quest for love.

Loreto Todd has taken that idea and expanded it into a delightfully magical novel in A Fire in His Head: Stories of Wandering Aengus. In the book, Aengus meets -- and quickly loses -- the beautiful maiden Caillte. He sets out to find her and, as questing heroes are wont to do, meets many strange characters and has bizarre adventures along the way.

Aengus has experiences that test his mettle and build his resolve. He learns lessons and grows with each trial while we, the readers, get to enjoy the ride.

Todd's novel is a wonderful Irish tapestry, deeply rooted in Celtic lore. There are stories within stories, some of which are familiar, some of which are fresh and some falling in between, dancing at the edge of recognition. It is fun and funny, tragic and uplifting.

Yeats fans absolutely must read this adaptation of the famous poem. Likewise, anyone who appreciates Celtic mythology will want to enjoy Todd's clever new interpretation.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 26 April 2003