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Margo Lanagan

Sea Hearts  by Margo Lanagan

May 2012, no. 341

Sea Hearts takes place in an intensely wrought setting, both unnerving and thrilling – in propinquity to our world, yet enchantingly different. We journey, with a series of intriguing characters, through brutal landscapes where the wind is ‘swiping like a cat’s paw at a mousehole’.

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Yellowcake  by Margo Lanagan & The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower, Volume I  edited by Isobelle Carmody and Nan McNab

May 2011, no. 331

The ten tales in Margo Lanagan’s Yellowcake offer an eclectic glimpse behind the slender veil separating the everyday from the fantastic. The collection is peopled by monstrous gods and godly monsters, by scavengers, drifters, and fascinators. Its landscape incorporates hellish war zones, apocalyptic streetscapes, and haunting carnivals. There is hope and ...

In the introduction to her Virago Book of Fairy Tales (1990), Angela Carter considers the contrary nature of the fairy-tale form. Born of a lively oral tradition, fairy tales are not beholden to veracity, and Carter celebrates the complete lack of desire for verisimilitude in Andersen, Grimm and Perrault: ‘Once upon a time is both utterly precise and absolutely mysterious: there was a time and no time.’ Fairy tales do not beg the reader to suspend their disbelief, they baldly expect us to see the thing for what it is: a tale, a lie. It is all in the telling: which parts of the story the narrator wants to illuminate; which parts she wants to subvert or leave out completely. Carter writes of the modern preoccupation with individualising art, our cultural faith ‘in the work of art as a unique one-off, and the artist as an original’, but fairy tales are not like that. They eschew permanent ownership and the responsibility that implies.

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