First review of Red Spikes
I was astonished by Margo Lanagan's latest collection of short stories...Having ripped two of Lanagan's earlier novels to shreds for my PhD theses (The Best Thing and Touching Earth Lightly) I had avoided reading her more recent work.It's an interesting feeling to be stuck in someone's craw.
Anyway, she got over her resistance, started in on a proof copy of Red Spikes without knowing it was short stories, and then was horribly shocked when she found herself in the monkey troop in the second story, instead of in the novel that was promised by the first.
But she didn't throw me against the wall. In fact, she went back and found Black Juice and read that as well. She says:
In both collections Lanagan seems to have tapped into a bottomless reservoir of inspired creativity, each piece a unique gem...Because each of these stories is so different and the content and concepts so unfamiliar and unexpected, it was occasionally difficult to get my head around exactly what was happening. Nothing is truly familiar; expectations aren't met but are completely blown apart; there is no known context; and the stories are too short for words to be wasted on lengthy explanations. However, I didn't find this disconcerting - it was part of the thrill. The reader simply needs to open his or her mind and go along for the wild ride.Hear, hear.