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Red Spikes [Read] ➵ Red Spikes By Margo Lanagan – Thomashillier.co.uk 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 , and learning to live with what you h 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 , and learning to live with what you have Stories that show the imprint love leaves on us allIf 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 From the Hardcover edition.


10 thoughts on “Red Spikes

  1. Nancy Nancy says:

    Posted at Shelf Inflicted After being blown away by Black Juice, I was eager to readof Margo Lanagan s short story collections So off I went to the library and found a lovely hardcover edition of Red Spikes, received by the library on October 16, 2008 It appeared to be untouched and I confirmed this by looking at the shiny cover free of finger smudges and listening to the crackling noises of its spine as I gently opened it, fanning its pages under my nose and sniffing so deeply it was al Posted at Shelf Inflicted After being blown away by Black Juice, I was eager to readof Margo Lanagan s short story collections So off I went to the library and found a lovely hardcover edition of Red Spikes, received by the library on October 16, 2008 It appeared to be untouched and I confirmed this by looking at the shiny cover free of finger smudges and listening to the crackling noises of its spine as I gently opened it, fanning its pages under my nose and sniffing so deeply it was almost a snort Then I had a nearly uncontrollable urge to nibble the spine before I finally came to my senses and realized I was holding library property The stories in this collection are dark, unsettling and moody, and explore a variety of themes Once again, Lanagan has succeeded in engaging the emotions of this reader by creating rich, imaginative worlds and believable young characters who struggle, learn and grow I recommend these stories for readers who love dark fantasy and smart young adult fiction


  2. Tatiana Tatiana says:

    Writing short stories is not easy As much as I like, let s say, Kelley Armstrong, her anthologies Men of the Otherworld and Tales of the Otherworld are not really collections of short stories They are collections of scenes in the lives of her characters and nothingLanagan, on the other hand, is a great short story writer Her stories remind me a lot of the works of one of my favorite writers and IMO the greatest writer of short stories Guy de Maupassant, not thematically, but in the Writing short stories is not easy As much as I like, let s say, Kelley Armstrong, her anthologies Men of the Otherworld and Tales of the Otherworld are not really collections of short stories They are collections of scenes in the lives of her characters and nothingLanagan, on the other hand, is a great short story writer Her stories remind me a lot of the works of one of my favorite writers and IMO the greatest writer of short stories Guy de Maupassant, not thematically, but in the quality Both excel at creating very short notthan 10 15 pages and pointed stories, all with rich backgrounds, deep characterization and climaxes that leave you pondering on the complexities of human nature.Red Spikes consists of 10 stories of life, death, love, violence, and courage, each is laced with supernatural but ultimately illuminating humanity My favorite stories in the collection are Monkey s Paternoster, in which female monkeys in a harem like group endure the rivalries of alpha males, and Under Hell, Over Heaven where characters in purgatory witness a soul s descent into hell Just like Lanagan s Printz Honor winning novel Tender Morsels, Red Spikes will not appeal to all readers The stories have an air of weirdness about them, the language is complex and a lot of patience is required to acclimate to each story s fresh setup However existing fans of the writer and those who, like me, have a taste for strange and bizarre are sure to enjoy this book I will definitely check out Margo Lanagan s other short story collections Black Juice and White Time


  3. Arielle Walker Arielle Walker says:

    Story by story is the only way I can do this.Baby JaneA baby is being born somewhere in the Australian outback but her midwife is unusual and her mother may not be from this world.Eerie but lovely, the twist comes early on and the rest of the story is how the main character copes with that twist This could be the prologue of a long, dark fantasy tale, but as a short story it s near perfect Tantalising, makes you think long and hard after the last word has been read 4.5 5Monkey s Paternoster Story by story is the only way I can do this.Baby JaneA baby is being born somewhere in the Australian outback but her midwife is unusual and her mother may not be from this world.Eerie but lovely, the twist comes early on and the rest of the story is how the main character copes with that twist This could be the prologue of a long, dark fantasy tale, but as a short story it s near perfect Tantalising, makes you think long and hard after the last word has been read 4.5 5Monkey s PaternosterThe patriarch is dying.This was a shock Coming straight from the previous story, where everyone is pretty solidly some form of human, it took me a good while to realise that Monkey s Paternoster wasn t just a quirky title It s raw and relentless and harsh and I didn t exactly enjoy it, but can t deny it s a good story 3 5A Good HeartElusive and bittersweet 3 5WinkieThis giant is no BFG.As dark as its nocturnal setting, and likely to becometerrifying with multiple reads Margo Lanagan can write some truly disturbing imagery, and there s one moment that won t fade I wish it would There seems to be a slight theme running here a little maternal, a little child based But is so then this is the darkest side of childhood 4 5 A Feather in the Breast of GodAnd right on the heels of the deepest, most disturbing darkness comes this angelic little tale A bird pet budgie, in fact comes back after death to save a beloved family member It s really not as twee as it sounds, I promise And yet something in the first person narrative put me off just that little bit 3.5 5 Hero ValeNot for the squeamish 2 5And the rest of the book has gone by in a skim read blur Feeling a little let down, to end so dully after such a strong start


  4. Rhea Rhea says:

    Margo Lanagan is a master of darkness Her vision is one of the most original and powerful in the Young Adult genre it uses the whimsical, dark, and bizarre to explore real, human themes.Lanagan paints her vision with artful language Her scenes and images intrigue, unsettle, and even baffle the reader each word is chosen carefully, so, as Kirkus Reviews said in their review, each sentence has the effect of a stone in a still pond These ten short stories are about love, life, belonging, pain Margo Lanagan is a master of darkness Her vision is one of the most original and powerful in the Young Adult genre it uses the whimsical, dark, and bizarre to explore real, human themes.Lanagan paints her vision with artful language Her scenes and images intrigue, unsettle, and even baffle the reader each word is chosen carefully, so, as Kirkus Reviews said in their review, each sentence has the effect of a stone in a still pond These ten short stories are about love, life, belonging, pain, loss, and heroism, conveyed through otherworldly frames However, they re definitely not for everyone First of all, they re all very short 9 19 pages so some readers might feel cheated Secondly, the language can be confusing reading requires patience, which might turn some readers off But mostly, the stories themselves will be too weird to be appreciated by some they can be so bizarre, the readers might not see the beauty because of the weirdness.But formature readers, this collection is a real treat.Here is a brief review of each story Baby Jane This first story is a terrific opener to the collection It s dreamlike, mysterious, and can be interpreted in many ways to me, it was about how our origins always stay with us in one way or another view spoiler Interestingly, it has childbirth, two worlds, and bears, elements that were also present in Tender Morsels hide spoiler 4.5 stars Monkey s Paternoster Trigger warning semi graphic rape The shortest story at 9 pages, this one is remarkably layered It explores the price of power and how some people you might consider great are actually just as lowly as those your society condemns The other aspects are great the plot is exciting, the emotional impact is great, and the worldbuilding and culture are well drawn A new favorite of mine 4.5 stars A Good Heart A beautiful, sad exploration of what it means forgive someone after they ve broken your heart The entire story focuses on a choice, so it takes a bit of patience to get to any sort of conflict However, there s a bit of mystery to propel it forward, and the choice is complex and emotionally challenging 4 stars Winkie I didn t get this one It s a scary interpretation of the nursery rhyme Wee Willie Winkie, and has a great, likable main character However, the writing in the beginning was a bit confusing, and the ending didn t make much sense I still liked it though 3 stars A Feather in the Breast of God I have no idea what to think of this one It s certainly good, but my emotions are baffled Should I cry Should I be happy Should I be touched but in the best way possible If I am to nitpick, I d like to point out that at one point, the language is overly convoluted excerpt below under the spoiler tag 3.5 stars view spoiler The man took her arm smoothly, her white, woman s arm In the elbow the vein rose purple, plump with clean blood The straining of keeping up the simulacrum made my thinking go all timeless and godlike here was that little crooked limb forming in the darkness of the mum, cell by cell here it wavered, white, needing to grasp and bring every object to the mouth here, longer, it worked busily at its learning scrawny and tanned, here it hauled ropes at the boat they made at the beach that summer, the summer she thought was the time of her life, that she wouldn t get better than, now that she was self conscious Through the wingbeats, as through a slatted blind being opened and closed, on the far side of this moment all the possibilities fanned out in the usual array, none of them better or worse, if we re talking Intrinsics, than any other, whether the arm be withered inside an old lady cardigan in a rest home, or fuller and starting to sag, clasped around her own child s teenage shoulders, or still shapely with youth, black tracked and lamplit and lifeless, fallen from curb to gutter They shifted about, all those might be s, in front of one another to form the general mud of that phenomenon mortals call the future, that they choose and don t choose, that they make or stumble into, or have thrust on them hide spoiler Hero Vale I couldn t connect to this one, mostly because I ve never been bullied lucky me and because I couldn t connect to the characters It also confused me, but unlike some of the others, I had no urge to understand it better Luckily, some other reviewers have stated it was their favorite one of their favorites, so it s likely me, and I recommend you see for yourself 2.5 stars no idea Under Heaven, Over Hell I interpreted this story partly as a criticism of the black and white idea of Heaven and Hell, and partly as an exploration of human emotion however, others might see it differently The characters here good people, yet have to suffer in a horrible, emotionless, feelingless Limbo because they weren t believers in life which reminded me a little of the Land of the Dead in The Amber Spyglass The worldbuilding was well wrought, the plot intriguing, and the story layered that s why I think my interpretation might be different than the author intended it is what it is probably because I recently read His Dark Materials 4 stars Mouse Maker Another one I didn t get I think it s about the consequences of wrongly accusing someone and of meddling in someone else s problems and things Still engrossing, though, and I liked it 3 stars Forever Upward My favorite of the collection Lanagan s prose is lovely as ever, complementing a beautiful story a story about families, communities, and loved ones about what it means to be conquered, and the pain of losing your old ways and ultimately, about hope, and remembering your old culture Probably one of my favorite shorts of all time And I love the name Currija 5 stars Daughter of the Clay Most authors write about changelings to make their characters Special Cookies Lanagan uses the premise of changelings to show what it s like to belong to two worlds and to never completely fit in to either of them While the actual reason there are changelings is never explained and thus feels contrived, the beauty of the language and the realness of the emotion makes it a wonderful read and a bittersweet close to the collection 4 stars Is it recommended If you are an open minded, mature, experienced reader, I urge you to pick up a copy You won t regret it If this sounds too weird for you but you re looking for dark, imaginative short stories, I wold recommend Lips Touch Three Times It might sound like some Para Normal Romance garbage, but it s actually a very well written and imaginative collection with some of the most beautiful prose in the Young Adult genre It s also much easier to read, though IMO not as deep as Red Spikes


  5. Melissa Chung Melissa Chung says:

    10 short interesting stories I liked 3than the others and would have liked them to be a bit longer.The first short story Baby jane was my favorite It is about a boy who found a few figurines in the forest His mother is a midwife The boy found those figurines and stuck them in his pocket then under his pillow that night before he went to sleep By midnight those figurines came to life One of the figurines was a warrior Queen about to give birth The boy s family was in a magical slee 10 short interesting stories I liked 3than the others and would have liked them to be a bit longer.The first short story Baby jane was my favorite It is about a boy who found a few figurines in the forest His mother is a midwife The boy found those figurines and stuck them in his pocket then under his pillow that night before he went to sleep By midnight those figurines came to life One of the figurines was a warrior Queen about to give birth The boy s family was in a magical sleep and the boy had to be the midwife for the Queen When the princess was born, the Queen gave the baby to the boy Told him he must watch over her until she came for her Then the Queen and other companions turned back into figurines Such a weird fantastical story that I would have loved to continue reading.The second story that I really liked is called Under Hell, Over Heaven this story is about 4 people in Limbo They are to chaperone the dead either to Heaven or Hell The main character was an unbaptized baby One of her group says that you get brownie points for working hard With that you may enter Heaven It was an interesting story Those that are the workers live in a fog of grey They do not have feelings emotional or physical while in Limbo, but when they come close to the gates of Heaven and Hell their senses reawaken for a short period of time This makes them feel a hunger for something they can not have.The last story that I really liked was about an indigenous people They had lived hundreds of years on the beliefs of many gods They thrived with a family unit and their gods Then the white man came and brought their one true God to the villages The missionaries took the men from the villages to teach them their ways The right ways to live The women and girls were left behind It is a sad story This happens everywhere People come into a unknown area and try to claim the people there for themselves Try to change them With this change, brings unknown diseases to the tribes Brings the loss of culture, language and the old gods Very sad indeed.Over all I thought this collection of short stories was pretty good Some of them were really weird, like, Monkey s Pasternoster about animals and their mating season and Mouse Maker where a man lives near a witch and tries to duplicate a potion curse, but does it wrong.It was a nice dip into this authors writing and can t wait to try out her other books


  6. bjneary bjneary says:

    If you like fantastic, unreal, horrifying stories, you will certainly enjoy the ten short stories by Lanagan that do not disappoint Themes of birth, death, and love are interspersed throughout with images of violence, gentleness and intensity Wade in carefully and read each story separately, you will be rewarded with mystery and truth in life and otherworlds Supernatural Fiction


  7. Tristan Tristan says:

    Dark and beautiful collection of stories I particularly like Baby Jane, A Good Heart , Winkie, and Daughter of the Clay , but the collection centers around this sense of pinpricks each piece throws itself headlong into trouble The stories are about fear and about desire and about desperation and each once picks out a new pathway through that.Lanagan s plotting is effective and her prose is lovely I got lost in a couple stories, but the best ones were absolutely riviting in their strang Dark and beautiful collection of stories I particularly like Baby Jane, A Good Heart , Winkie, and Daughter of the Clay , but the collection centers around this sense of pinpricks each piece throws itself headlong into trouble The stories are about fear and about desire and about desperation and each once picks out a new pathway through that.Lanagan s plotting is effective and her prose is lovely I got lost in a couple stories, but the best ones were absolutely riviting in their strangeness The stories flirtwith horror than I usually like Monkey s Paternoster is particularly unsettling , but in Lanagan s hands, the fear is manageable without being defanged


  8. Karissa Karissa says:

    Previous to this book I ve read The Brides of Rollrock Island which I absolutely adored , Yellowcake which was okay and Tender Morsels which was also okay I got this book when I was in a big Lanagan reading phase a couple years ago It was okay the stories are all interesting but none of them really grabbed me and the majority of them are just plain odd I listed the stories below along with brief descriptions and thoughts on them I think my favorites were Baby Jane, Hero Vale, Under Hel Previous to this book I ve read The Brides of Rollrock Island which I absolutely adored , Yellowcake which was okay and Tender Morsels which was also okay I got this book when I was in a big Lanagan reading phase a couple years ago It was okay the stories are all interesting but none of them really grabbed me and the majority of them are just plain odd I listed the stories below along with brief descriptions and thoughts on them I think my favorites were Baby Jane, Hero Vale, Under Hell, Over Heaven, and Daughter of Clay Lanagan likes to include sex and or sexuality in her stories in way that is usual presented as uncomfortable and disturbing Just a warning I am always surprised these are considered YA.Overall I would recommend the Yellowcake collection of stories over this one I would strongly recommend Brides of Rollrock Island over all of Lanagan s other books I think that was by far her best book.Baby Jane About a strange woman from another reality that gives birth to a baby girl I really enjoyed this story and how the boundaries of two worlds touch each other briefly.Monkey s PaternosterA tribe of captive monkeys that gets a new lead male This was my least favorite of the bunch I get what Lanagan is trying to do here, but I don t enjoy reading about violent sexual assault.A Good HeartThis was about a man whose childhood sweetheart is marrying a Lord and he finds out one of her deep dark secrets This was an okay story, I was kind of neutral about it.WinkieAbout a young girl who is kidnapped by a giant This story had some excellent imagery in it and I enjoyed the eeriness of it.A Feather in the Breast of GodAbout a sort of guardian budgie who comes back from the dead to help his family This was an okay story, again I was pretty neutral about it.Hero ValeA young man goes to Hero Vale to see the sights and ends up scarred and changed I really enjoyed this I love the other world our world touches in this story and how it changes the people who see it.Under Hell, Over HeavenAbout a group of people stuck in between that escort people between heaven and hell This had a very urban fantasy feel to it I thought it was okay but nothing all that original.Mouse MakerAbout an old healer woman who is lynched by her neighbors and has a strange ability to commune with mice This was another story I could leave or take Just okay.Forever UpwardA young girl s mother takes her into a minor Goddess to beg safety for her sons I loved the scenes with the Goddess and thought the island setting was interesting Overall I enjoyed it.Daughter of the ClayA young woman who has always been different finds out she was swapped out at birth by faeries I really liked this story It was a slightly different take on the whole swapped out by faeries at birth theme


  9. Jill Jill says:

    I don t normally read short fiction, but my love for Margo Lanagan s The Brides of Rollrock Island 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 I don t normally read short fiction, but my love for Margo Lanagan s The Brides of Rollrock Island 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 writingnovels I suppose I can take solace in the fact that I have not yet read her award winning novel Tender Morsels


  10. Rosa Rosa says:

    I really really wanted to like these short stories but I just couldn t get into it I love Margo Lanagan s writing, I think it s absolutely beautiful, and the language in these stories is absolutely gorgeous One of my favorite things about Margo Lanagan s writing has always been her ability to really set a mood in a story, and these stories evoke many different moods from the down right disturbing to a sense of satisfaction Unfortunately all of the stories felt unfinished to me They feltI really really wanted to like these short stories but I just couldn t get into it I love Margo Lanagan s writing, I think it s absolutely beautiful, and the language in these stories is absolutely gorgeous One of my favorite things about Margo Lanagan s writing has always been her ability to really set a mood in a story, and these stories evoke many different moods from the down right disturbing to a sense of satisfaction Unfortunately all of the stories felt unfinished to me They feltlike excerpts from larger tales that I mostly wanted to hear the rest of This left me feeling frustrated and unsatisfied as a reader I read an arc that I got from work and at the end of the arc there was a two page note from the author dealing with where the inspiration for each story I hope that made it into the final copy because I thought that was really interesting The stories I liked the best were Baby Jane A Feather in the Breast of God Under Hell, Over Heaven Forever Upward, and Daughter of the Clay Unfortunately, these all left me feeling the most frustrated as well It just felt like I was missing out on getting to know characters, endings and even beginnings


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