This was such a strange little collection of short stories. All of them started right off in the midst of strange locations or strange cultures, and yThis was such a strange little collection of short stories. All of them started right off in the midst of strange locations or strange cultures, and you had to just figure things out as you went along. And by the time you did, the strange, disturbing little story was over. Everything was very dark and mysterious, and I was sure if I was supposed to like or loathe the protagonists. A little of both. The theme was about tapping into those dark places that everyone has, that you don't want to quite admit to harboring inside you.
Short stories are interesting, because it seems like authors can sometimes play more with really strange stuff -- ideas that would be hard to maintain for an entire novel (in one, the protagonist is an elephant, communicating telepathically with his fellow elephants as they take off in search of their lost keeper). The imagination on display in all of these stories is what fascinates me, and makes me despair, yet again, for seeming to have so little imagination of my own to come up with something unique.
Lanagan is an Australian author, and the other-ness of the little bits of worlds she has created in these short stories is a wonderful change of pace.
Her book, Tender Morsels shows up in the 2009 list of honor books, and I'm looking forward to that, as well....more
This is one of the most wonderful books I've ever read. I don't even have the words to express how much I loved it. I was just riveted by the story, tThis is one of the most wonderful books I've ever read. I don't even have the words to express how much I loved it. I was just riveted by the story, the characters, the plotting, the language, the everything.
I'm trying to think of who to specifically recommend it to, and all I'm coming up with is "everyone."...more
I am really ambivalent about this book. It was short, and it read quickly, and I enjoyed it while I was reading. Might have even considered it a 5 staI am really ambivalent about this book. It was short, and it read quickly, and I enjoyed it while I was reading. Might have even considered it a 5 star book.
However, the more I try to write about it, the more I realize that I have some pretty big qualms about it.
The main character, Ellen, sounded more like 40 than 14.
The families are pretentious, upper class white people living in NYC, who probably have more money than they need or deserve. The parents are mostly absent, leaving their 14 year old daughter to get up to some stuff she's really not ready for. (But it's OK, she's just with this family friend that we've known for years....in his house all alone with no parental supervision.....)
No one talks the way book characters talk or think, books take dialogue up a notch. They have to, because no one wants to read dialogue that is 100% true to life. But these teenagers? This was a little over the top for being teenagers. Both in the things they said and thought as well as what they did.
The exploration of sexuality was really thoughtful, and while I'm sure some people hated the ending...once again, I was perfectly fine with the ambiguity. As with most of the books I've been reading, I find myself wishing I could talk to the people that picked this for the Printz honor list. What about it made them choose THIS book over any other book written that year?
I will say this: they surely didn't pick this one for its cover -- I can't even believe how awful the original cover was. Would definitely never have picked it up. The ebook "cover" was clearly done later and is much more in line with what I would have expected and would see on a book being published now.
I guess if you can ignore the cover, and ignore the fact that the main character sounds like a middle aged woman, and not the 14 year old girl she is supposed to be, this short read does have a lot of interesting things to say about being in love, and what love with different people can look like....more