And here's what Deirdre F. Baker says about Red Spikes
Lanagan’s ten stories delve into the crevices of nightmare, temptation, and helplessness with a mixture of earthy dialect and inventiveness that makes this collection mesmerizing, sometimes horrifying, and occasionally funny. “A human eye is bigger than the head of a bird like me,” one character (a budgie) says. “When it looks at you, it’s hard to think straight, for fear of where all that attention might lead.” That might be said of each one of the stories, which transfix the reader partly through their surprises (birth, rape, dead babies, nightmares that sound “spongy somehow, as well as bony”) but mostly through Lanagan’s language. She has an unerring ear for patterns of speech and for weird, terrifying combinations of words that conjure startling, vivid, fleshly images. “They ran so close together they were like a stretch of moss that pulled itself up and went hurrying off,” she writes of a magicked flood of mice. “The dark parts of his eyes skated about on his eyeballs,” she writes of a positively hair-raising Wee Willie Winkie. Physical desire and repugnance go uneasily hand in hand in most of the stories, which have the intensity of folktales and a powerfully visceral style.