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Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan
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Red Spikes (2006)

by Margo Lanagan

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
These stories were way too odd and convoluted for me. I was so confused for the majority of the stories that I was never able to really enjoy them. By the time I would figure out what was going on, the story would end and I would be put in the middle of yet another confusing tale I had to struggle to understand. I'm not sure Lanagan is for me, but I'm still willing to give her another shot, perhaps with a novel of hers that has a beginning, middle and end. ( )
  Kayla-Marie | Sep 27, 2014 |
I don't normally read short fiction, but my love for Margo Lanagan's [b:The Brides of Rollrock Island|12009173|The Brides of Rollrock Island|Margo Lanagan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1326364399s/12009173.jpg|13420646] and my desire for something different encouraged me to pick up Red Spikes, a collection of ten short stories. Unfortunately, I couldn't help but feel cheated as I read the stories because as soon as I'd connect with the character, develop a guess as to where the plot was going, or lose myself in Lanagan's lurid and ambient settings, the story would end.

Lanagan's writing is beautiful and her ideas are so endlessly creative, so all I wanted while reading these stories was to see them fully realized as feature-length works. Though short stories are, by definition, short, these stories seemed exceptionally so. They are better defined as sparse, atmospheric vignettes, captivating but woefully incomplete. I was particularly disappointed with "Under Hell, Over Heaven," my favorite of the collection, because it would have been an incredible novel. The idea is that a troop of kids living in Purgatory deliver souls to Heaven and Hell, hoping one day that their work will result in a promotion from Purgatory to heaven. The three realms of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory are exquisitely imagined and described, but the story was too short to develop any long-term intrigue. Its premature ending left me unsatisfied.

Other highlights of the collection (again, almost all of these would be wonderful scenes/starting points for novels):
-"Baby Jane," a portal story featuring childbirth in between fantasy realms.
-"A Good Heart," a medievalesque setting with focus on love and women's choices and positions in such a society.
-"Winkie," a terrifying Boogeyman type story.
-"Forever Upward," a society where a colonizing force has taken away all the men and a little girl and the remaining women must appeal to their disappeared gods for help.

Mostly, this collection made me hope that Lanagan is writing more novels. I suppose I can take solace in the fact that I have not yet read her award-winning novel [b:Tender Morsels|2662169|Tender Morsels|Margo Lanagan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320416424s/2662169.jpg|2687395]. ( )
  IAmChrysanthemum | Jun 8, 2013 |
Individually the stories are very good - but they are all very much in the same tone so reading a whole book's worth becomes tedious.
•Baby Jane
•Monkey's paternoster

•A good heart

•Winkie

•A feather in the breast of God

•Hero Vale

•Under hell, over heaven

•Mouse maker

•Forever upward

•Daughter of the clay.
( )
  SChant | Apr 26, 2013 |
Red Spikes is a collection of short stories from Australian fantasy author Margo Lanagan. Dark and unyielding, these are bizarre, other-worldly tales, brought forth from the depths of a truly astounding imagination.

Nothing I write here could possibly do this collection justice. These stories are unusual, not likeable exactly, but they are so believable, Lanagan's writing is effortless, convincing us of their truth. With beauty, wonder and true horror, each tale has elements of familiar fairy-tales...tales of warrior queens, guardian angels, gods, witches and heroes...but reworked and reimagined.

Highly recommended for fans of dark fantasy and fans of Lanagan's fiction.
  aleya79 | Aug 21, 2010 |
In this collection of nine short stories, Lanagan addresses fear and longing. I read this with my teen book group, and I was really worried, as some of the stories are very unsettling (in one, an imagined monkey government overthrow, the main character is raped). However, I seemed to have dodged a bullet, as only two actually finished the book because most of them HATED it.

Lanagan is very much a "literary" author - she doesn't coddle the reader, and as with many short stories, she does a lot with very little. These would be good for older, more sophisticated teen readers. ( )
  kayceel | Aug 12, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375843205, Hardcover)

Margo Lanagan's electrifying stories take place in worlds not quite our own, and yet each one illuminates what it is to be human. They are stories of yearning for more, and learning to live with what you have. Stories that show the imprint love leaves on us all.

If you think you don't like short fiction, that a story can't have the depth or impact of a novel, then you haven't read Margo Lanagan. A writer this startling and this original doesn't come along very often. So for anyone who likes to be surprised, touched, unsettled, intrigued, or scared senseless, prepare to be dazzled by what a master storyteller can do in a few short pages.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Ten stories that take place in worlds not quite our own and yet each one illuminates what it is to be human. They are stories of yearning for more, and learning to live with what you have.

» see all 5 descriptions

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