Review Blog

Mar 21 2011

Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2011. ISBN 9781742374789.
Short stories. Highly recommended. Ten new short stories from Margo Lanagan, collected together in one volume, will have people absolutely delighted. The originality and subtlety of this author's work is to be marveled at and her previous collections, Black juice, Red Spike and ahe book, Tender Morsels, will ensure a willing audience for this new collection.
From Ferryman to An honest day's work, each story brings with it a fresh and novel approach, one which will be the cause of much discussion and rereading. Ferryman uses the stories of old, the oarsman taking the dead across the River Styx to what lies beyond. A rich and unusual story develops, of the ferryman and his dutiful daughter, coming down to give him his lunch, singing as she descends the steps, their idle, familiar chatter contrasting with the bodies of the dead, who, zombie like, are queued up waiting for their last trip. While Into the clouds on high, we see a young woman, letting go of her family, her husband and two children, as she disappears to help others unseen. Where she has gone, no one knows, but she shimmers, hovering in the air, spreading a warmth to those around her. And the enigmatic The point of roses, had me rereading immediately, trying to find the clues hidden in the wonderful prose, of what and where this may have taken place.
Each story builds a setting at once known and unknown, characters brought to life with a few sprays of words, a story built seemingly from air, but always with a central core of tension, of not knowing what is going on, of people looking for answers in a sea of doubt..
Singing my sister down, from the Black Juice collection, is a story I have had with me since first reading it. It has now been paired with another that will intrigue, baffle and enthrall, An honest day's work, redolent of the whaling industry as little men carve and cut up a torso hauled out from the sea. One of many in this fine collection.
Fran Knight

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Miles Franklin longlist 2017
Reading Children's Book Prize 2017
Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist 2017
Branford Boase Award shortlist 2017
Text Prize 2017
NSW Premier Literary Awards shortlist 2017
Aurealis Awards winners
YABBA Awards shortlist 2017
Stella Prize 2017
2017 YALSA Teens' Top Ten Nominees
CBCA shortlists 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates