Published by Twelfth Planet Press on 2012
A presence haunts an old dresser in an inner-city share house. Shining sun-people lure children from their carefree beachside lives. Sheela-na-gigs colonise a middle-aged man’s outer and inner worlds. And a girl with a heavy conscience seeks relief in exile on the Treeless Plain.
These stories from four-time World Fantasy Award winner Margo Lanagan are all set in Australia, a myth-soaked landscape both stubbornly inscrutable and crisscrossed by interlopers’ dreamings. Explore four littoral and liminal worlds, a-crackle with fears and possibilities.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Jane Yolen
The Duchess Dresser Isles of the Sun Significant Dust Bajazzle
This is a small book, only 104 pages. Margo Lanagan’s writing is so good that the length of the book is totally irrelevant. The stories in this book are well selected with an eye towards saying so much so concisely. Although, when I say ‘selected’, that might be a misnomer as it’s entirely possible that Lanagan is this good with all her writing.
I finished the first story and kept turning the page backwards and forwards desperately looking for more. I might have been hoping that if I turned the pages enough more words would magically appear I can’t say anything without giving you spoilers, every sentence I’ve typed has been erased. I just want to say that this is very good and you’d be remiss if you didn’t read it.
The second story had me hoping that where it was leading is not where it was going to finish. It didn’t, the narrative took a different line. It still left my emotions feeling bruised and raw. Mostly told to us from the point of view of a young boy, it switches to the mother at the end.
The third story is told from the perspective of a lecherous male. Someone who is starting to be repulsed by his aging wife’s body. I could almost see why men have midaged crises and leave their wives in the lurch. But this is not where it finishes…or is it?
The last story? You know those people who have had an accident and ended up ill? It’s not told from this point of view. This is another that is beautifully written with precision with words. I love it for the writing but this is the story that left me the most bruised. I’d read it again in a few weeks if I have time.
I wish I was able to write as well as Lanagan. I’d like to make these few words as concise and as beautiful as her stories. Sadly, I don’t have her skills and I suspect I never will. I do recommend this book, it really is good. I’m having issues with my affiliate links at present otherwise I’d recommend it so much by giving you a link to this book and then links to other books by her. Go forth and buy!