Margo Lanagan: Sea Hearts



E life out of them So this is where I come to the from above After writing this review I realize that this book left of an impression on me than I originally thought This book is uieter and subdued than Tender Morsels but it still lingersAlso seen on The Readventurer When you read a Margo Lanagan book you expect it to both confuse and enthrall you And THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND delivers that head spinning gut churning fizzy brained mixture of what in the world is going on and did she really go there and oh my goodness she is a genius You can read THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND as a nontraditionally narrated snapshot of an island s history with no straightforward plot and no answers to what s right or what s wrong in this world That ll either confuse the hell out of you or you will be delighted at the amount of space Lanagan allows readers to bring in their own values and interests to the story Those who want to find a depiction of the complex meanings of domestic loyalty get that Or you can also read it for its marvelous craft its characterization and worldbuilding It s a story that gives no clear answers and is all the special because of thatMuch like Thisby Island of The Scorpio Races Rollrock Island feels like an entity of its own Lanagan skillfully weaves a picture of an island suffocated by yet dependent on its claustrophobic living conditions neighbors nowing one another s businesses and Serving Up Secrecy (Ladies of Westside knowing who marries who and who s doing what with who else s woman I find stories contained in a small area where each inhabitant must be developed with his or her uniue idiosyncrasies so much interesting and realistic than plain Jane YAs set in Anywheretown America The people and the island setting force one another to reveal their imperfect weird alivenessFor those who appreciate great writing and are tired of the repetitious plots and characters that appear in so much YA THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND will renew your faith in the magic of writing The Brides of Rollrock Island is one of those novels that left me with the thought that there is no possible word in the English language that could even attempt to summon up the strange ethereal and mystifying experience that is chronicled in this book As my first venture into Lanagan s world I have to admit that If you have any expectations of what this book will be like based on the cover throw them away You won t find a dreamy romantic fairy tale retelling here It s like this type of crazy business going onRecipe for a twisted dark fairy tale 1 One crazy witch2 Stupid men who think with the wrong head3 Seals I m being serious the actual sea creatures4 Blank eyed women who are willing to serve their men Stepford Wife style Confused yet Trust me I was confused for the first couple of chapters Once I started figuring out what was going on I found myself disturbingly aroused uh scared uh interested Basically this nasty crazy witch woman can call up seals and cut them open These seals then pop out these extremely sensual looking women who are willing to cling to the first person they seebond with Yes it s like mail order brides except of a local affair Needless to say the men were ALL over this trend Islander number 1 Hey Frank you got your hot seal wife yet Mine cooks me dinner every night before doing the naked tango with me Islander number 2 Nah The dumb witch wants money than I can afford I m putting in extra hours down at the docks so I can get me a slave soon Think there s a catch Of course there is That s where the story takes a turnI loved this book but I can honestly say that it won t be for everyone It does take a couple of chapters to get to the point where you feel sucked in Because of the confusing and almost dreary start I could see how some people are going to jump ship before the story gets to a point where you want toeep going because you re bizarrely fascinated with this twisted beautiful and disturbing world I was glad that I stuck with Brides of Rollrock Island because I love books that stray outside of the realm of normal Anything that isn t cookie cutter tends to earn extra marks from meThis author is shelved as YA but I found this book to read like an Adult historical fic wa sprinkling of magical realism Basically a modern albeit dark and grown up fairy tal. D And the witch will have her true paymentMargo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire despair and transformation With devastatingly beautiful prose she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty but also unspoken lov.

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ONLINE BOOK Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan – chernov–art.com

This is my first Lanagan but by no means will it be my last From the very words chosen to the way they d been woven together the feel of this is long and lush dense and at times too much Everything is so specifically and skillfully put together that I felt the moody dark and yes sometimes even disturbing tone just propelled me forward I ve come away w 45 StarsMelancholy If I had to capture Margo Lanagan s The Brides of Rollrock Island in one word melancholy would be the one Melancholy is sad but also thoughtful beautiful and heartbreaking as was this tale The Brides of Rollrock Island isn t a streamlined book Told from six varying points of view our tale begins in the middle reverses to the beginning and moves forward to the end with a motion that indicates that this is a story that has happened before and one that can happen again The age old adage that history is doomed to repeat itself is ever present in Lanagan s book we A Wartime Nurse know roughly what will happen because it has all hap 45 stars Was she beautiful the sea maid Fair strange Doris had said and I thought that was a fine assessment Fair strange I think that s a fine assessment of Sea Hearts too beautiful in or for its unusualnessIt s proving extremely difficult to review Sea Hearts titled The Brides of Rollrock Island in the US in isolation and not hold it up against Lanagan s previous novel Tender Morsels Though I read the latter earlier this year I still haven t been able to wrangle my thoughts into review form beyond being able to say that it s one of the most powerful disturbing and peculiar books I ve ever read And I do mean that in a good way So I was apprehensive even nervous going into Sea HeartsNow having read them both I can definitely say that there are some similarities between the novels as they both have Lanagan s singularly complex and artistic use of language atmosphere emotion and thematic depth However while Rollrock is a lonely island of cliffs and storms blunt fishermen and their fierce wives Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas But Rollrock is also a place of magic When I read and adored Kirsty Logan s The Gloaming my dear friend Marina recommended Margo Lanagan s The Brides of Rollrock Island because shenows how much I love myths islands and selkies I can honestly say one time that Marina Split knows me frighteningly well If you love island communities the Scottish landscape myths and tales witches weird births seals and selkies or if you just need to read a uality tale then you need this book in your lifeIn an island that definitely resembles the Scottish Hebrides a community is torn asunder by Misskaella s abilities to turn seals into beautiful alluring seemingly docile young women Families and relationships are turned upside down This is Misskaella s way of exacting revenge for years I got this on audio from AudioBookSync Wow this book is weird There s something peculiarly haunting about selkie folklore I can picture a careworn exhausted mother telling the story to her daughter Once the women could swim free before they were robbed of their skins I can see a father still mourning the loss of his wife from childbirth telling it to his young son The women don t want to leave their husbands and children but they re torn and the sea is in their nature and someday they must return to it The symbolism of the story is so very direct when the man sees the selkie wom The back of the book says we see the deepest of human cruelty but also of love Wrong there is no love in this bookIf you like the last episode of Twin Peaks you ll like this book That s not exactly a good thing This novel takes cerebral to a whole other degreeFirst off there s a difference between throwing your reader into a novel s world no holds bar and throwing a reader into a world and not caring if they understand what on earth is going on Only half way through the b There s no uestion in my mind that this book is brilliantly written I ve been consistently impressed and moved by Margo Lanagan s prose since my first experience with her work a few years ago and this book does not disappoint in that regard However and this will actually be a positive for many readers this book is far tame and accessible than Tender Morsels It s even accessibl. On remote Rollrock Island men go to sea to make their livings and to catch their wivesThe witch Misskaellanows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal of luring the beauty out of the beast And for a price a man may buy.

E than the short story of hers that I read in Zombies vs Unicorns last year And that s not to say that this book is all softness and happiness and rainbows far from it But compared to the other two works of hers that I ve read this one just isn t as traumatizing As I said this will actually be a positive for many readers I would definitely suggest this book for anyone who wants to give Margo Lanagan a try without being overwhelmed This is the book you should start with However as someone who loves her darker and gruesome side I actually really missed the shock factor that I ve come to expect from her I loved this book uite a lot but I When Stories Clash know that it won t linger in my mind uite as much as Tender Morsels still doesThis book is absolutely brilliant though both in its poetic beauty and in its technical precision She is one of the few authors Inow of who seems to marry those two elements effortlessly I appreciate both although I think maybe I have a slight preference for poetic beauty over technical precision but when I see them come together in one work of art it never fails to leave me in awe Not only does she seamlessly connect six different narrators she tells this story in a sort of spiraling timeline She starts in the middle moves to the beginning and then moves through the start to reach the end In a less skilled author s hands all of these narrators and the shifting timeline could easily become a huge mess But she makes it feel absolutely perfect like the only way this story could possibly be toldI don t typically enjoy reading through a whole cast of narrators but Margo Lanagan makes me love it Her stories are handed off from one pair of eyes to another like a relay and the result is an incredibly three dimensional view We get to see through the eyes of young Misskaella a girl with a power that she doesn t understand but that seems to scare or disgust everyone on the small island where she lives As she grows and even her family seems to wish she were never born as her isolation and bitterness increase it becomes easier to see why she would want to punish them all From within the soft blubbery bodies of female seals she pulls forth girls tall pale graceful and biddable girls Girls who seem to bewitch every single man on the island Through the span of decades she changes the entire face of the island effectively removing it from the modern world and isolating everyone who chooses to stay The torch of narration is passed through the wives and children of these men who are cast aside to the men themselves who are hopelessly lost to the selkie brides to the children born of these new marriages and finally back into Misskaella s life through the eyes of her apprenticeI fell so hard into each one of these different characters that it was sometimes hard to move on But it was exciting too like having my firmly held beliefs proven wrong over and over again Am I the only one who really enjoys that The only small gripe I have is that I wish she had included a selkie bride as one of the narrators It sort of happens with Daniel Mallett the son of one of these women but not completely I really wonder why she chose not to include that point of viewHer writing is just absolutely stunning though For example this passage which is about giving up a child for his own well being All the years to come crowded into that time and I lived them long and bitter and empty of him The rightness of what I had done and the wrongness both they tore at me and repaired me and tore again and neither of them was bearable I have never gone through that courageous and painful act but she made me feel as if I hadPerfect Musical PairingThe Cranberries Dreaming My DreamsWhenever I listen to this song I think about my children growing up and heading out into the world and leaving me behind And I feel such a mix of emotions pride grief desperation to hold onto their little selves eagerness to prepare them for adulthood I think that the old clich is right one of the truest tests of love for another person is the ability to let him or her go And I think that it s interesting that in The Brides of Rollrock Island it is the villain who is able to let her loves go while her victims can t seem to They are so desperate to hold on to their loves that they strangle th. Himself a lovely sea wife He may have and hold and eep her And he will tell himself that he is her master But from his first look into those wide uestioning liuid eyes he will be just as transformed as she He will be eually ensnare.

Black Juice won two World Fantasy Awards It was published in Australia by Allen Unwin and the United Kingdom by Gollancz in 2004 and in North America by HarperCollins in 2005 It includes the much anthologized short story Singing My Sister DownHer short story collection