"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan


Yellowcake is a collection of ten short stories by the Australian author, Margo Lanagan, who has won two Printz Honors in the past for her novel Tender Morsels and another short story collection, Black Juice. She has also won The World Fantasy award three times. I tell you this to make a point. Margo Lanagan can write and has quite a devoted following among her readers.  Her books and stories, however, aren't for everyone. I fall into that latter camp.

I have a very difficult time with Lanagan's writing. When I read her works I feel as though I haven't been given to key to unlock the meanings. It is very odd since I consider myself a strong reader and I usually do not struggle with reading comprehension. But I am also a fast reader and that may be a problem for me and her books/stories. I may read so fast that needed details are skipped over. I'm not sure what it is.  But of the ten stories presented in this collection I enjoyed and understood clearly five of them. Three of them I had a lot more difficulty reading for comprehension. And two of them I abandoned altogether. If I were taking a test, I'd only get 50%, a failing grade.

The four stories I liked were:

  • "The Point of Roses"---A boy and his friends challenge another to guess the hidden objects. He does so but not in the way one would expect from a clairvoyant.
  • "The Golden Shroud"---a twist on the Rapunzel fairy tale. I like this one a lot.
  • "A Fine Magic"---a gentleman tries to gain the affection of two sisters through magic with disastrous results.
  • "Ferryman"---The ferryman, with assistance from his daughter, assist the dead across the great river to the other side.
  • "Into Clouds on High"--- a young boy witnesses his mother being elevated/called from on-high. He knows she must answer the call so agrees to help her by learning to do household tasks and helping his father. This was my favorite story in the book.


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5 comments:

  1. I've only tried to read one of her books, but I feel much the same as you do. I just don't get some of her stories. It seems they aren't finished -- there needs to be more.

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    1. We included her novel The Brides of Rollrock Island on our 2013 Mock Printz reading list and I don't think a single student returned it expressing how much they liked it. The storyline was so compelling but we all just got tangled up in the nets and couldn't make our way out.

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  2. I won't be reading her then. I don't like working that hard for the meaning of a book or story.

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    1. I think you might enjoy the re-telling of the Rapunzel story, but that doesn't make it worth the purchase.

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  3. Ya know, I have heard mixed things about Lanagan's stories. As you said, there's no disputing that she writes well, it's that not everyone actually likes her content and style. I need to check her out for myself and I think starting with this collection of short stories might be the perfect way! Thanks for the review, Anne!

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