The tales in Stories Out of Omarie developed out of my need to understand what love is– not serene love but the force that tears lives apart. I had been reading Marie de France’s lais, one of the many books put into my hands over the years by Tom La Farge; this one gave me stories that would serve as matter for my investigations. Then in 1985 we went to Paris for the summer. In a tapestry at the Cluny Museum I found a formal composition ripe for conversion into narrative structure, and used it in the first tale of the series, “The Passing of Graelent.” The books I read in my attempt to understand took me all through world literature. At some later date, I may make a bibliography and post it here.
The publisher wrote:
Stories Out of Omarie, Wendy Walker’s new collection, deals with forbidden love in medieval Europe and North Africa. A knight meets a naked woman in the forest who rescues him only to lead him later to drown. Two lovers, forcibly separated, continue their involvement in letters delivered to each other by a swan. A passionate affair in which the lovers never touch brings a jealous husband to dismember a nightingale. Venus realizes in the middle of narrating a story that she is the invention of one of her own characters. In the title story, a father forces his daughter into a barrel and throws it overboard in the middle of the sea; rescued by pirates, she is given to a sultan who teaches her to read, and whom she deserts for her father. In story after story, each written in Walker’s impeccable and densely rich style, the author takes us to the brink of passion where the characters totter, ready to retreat entirely from love or fall into the pit of sensuous transgression. Once again, she takes the reader for a breathtaking venture on the “tempting regions of web.”
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In her Stories Out of Omarie, Wendy Walker has given us English versions of eight medieval tales based on lays of Marie de France and her school…The stories in Walker’s collection range over Europe and Northern Africa, but especially Brittany and England. They represent some of the best tales available to the English court of the twelfth century… What makes this collection valuable to the lover of early English literature is Wendy Walker’s “impeccable and densely rich style,” a style that runs through these tales of forbidden love.
—Jack Byrne, Review of Contemporary Fiction
The Twin Knots is a complex tale of love and adventure… Delve into it to witness the transformative powers of love and to experience the depth and beauty of Wendy Walker’s discourse… The words leap off the page to form a visual interpretation of the unfolding events.
—Nicole McClain, Tangent Online