Shirley Marr's Reviews > Tantony

Tantony by Ananda Braxton-Smith
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May 15, 11

bookshelves: aussie-ya
Read from May 10 to 15, 2011

Boson Quirk is dead, face down in a bog of stars... I read the first line of this blurb months back and I knew that this was a book I had to read immediately, so as soon as it rocked up on my doorstep I wasted no time in getting stuck in. When you read an entire novel with your heart in your mouth and you get up to page 22 and your eyes are misting over, you can be sure that this is no ordinary story.

Approaching a book by Ananda Braxton-Smith is akin to suddenly find yourself as a small child again and approaching an adult with a book in hand. There are writers and then there are storytellers and Braxton-Smith is the latter in spades. Her writing doesn’t just convey a hypnotic and otherworldly voice unlike any other, it is a language in itself. You know this is not some fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian novel that uses token words to convey a certain token world – this is total immersion. I just want to hold a cup of cocoa, curl up in my doona and have Ananda read on and on.

I could almost drown in what is sometimes just sheer poetic beauty: “She was tipping his head back by the chin to look at him eye-straight. He was smiling like her face was a blossoming meadow and he had all day to spend in it.” I could spend all day picking out the passages that I think are beyond gorgeous.

Tantony is a novel about duality – the main characters are twins Fermion and Boson, one sane and one crazy. It is about the main island where the ‘normal’ people live and another island that appears eerily on the horizon only to disappear again, an island full of ‘monsters’. It is about what is considered right and wrong, what is Goldly and what is monstrous, all painted in Braxton-Smiths strokes of black and white. One moment there is beauty (“He said all purgatories are private places, and you can’t visit folk there.”), the next there is unbridled grimness (“My heart was full of little murders. Just the right size for these two.”), where both fight and struggle with each other to become one . At the heart of it is a story about the duality in each human, fighting mental illness and a life-affirming message that is it not a sin to be different.

I love it. I love how you can go to the middle of the book and find that it is actually two stories in one. I love how characters from Merrow make a cameo appearances. I love the fact that I might see Fermion again. I love how a book this real and organic can be published in this current sterile and plastic publishing environment.

This is an incredible book, rich and dense like mud cake and at times not easy to read, but one to be slowly savoured. This is my voice of the year. It might be an early (and big) call, but this is my Book of The Year. I don’t think I’ll find another one as beautiful, scary, challenging, confronting or as unique. It makes me feel alive. My heart still beats thinking about it. This is a good thing.

PS - Don’t you think the cover is beautiful? You also have to check out the inside artwork – full of birds and bees. Also, despite only making a wisp of a reappearance, I am in love with Scully Slevin.

This review orginally appeared here on my blog Life on Marrs
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Reading Progress

05/10/2011 page 3
1.36% "woof! is there anything more exciting than a package from black dog books! I am so keen to get stuck into this one I'm trying to read it while preparing dinner... tsk-tsk to the fact one has to eat!"
05/10/2011 page 94
42.53% "I'm drowning in this book. It's beautiful."
05/11/2011 page 221
100.0% "technically I've finished... I wonder if anyone else is going to post a review and be the first..." 5 comments

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Nic (new) - added it

Nic How interesting does this sound :)


message 2: by Nomes (new)

Nomes I read it this week :)


Shirley Marr Oooo Miss Nomes, I am so jealous! Even I, The Mighty Marr, do not have rights to an advance copy! Hanging to hear your review.

Miss Nicole, it sounds fabulous, my sort of story. I want to be among the first to read it so torn as to order it online or wait for my bookstore... as per usual the method I select will ensure me the slowest method I suspect...:)


message 4: by Nomes (new)

Nomes LOL @ The Mighty Marr. I had no idea it was a coveted rariry... it just randomly turned up a couple of weeks ago.

Aiming to review it sometime in the coming week :D


message 5: by Nic (new) - added it

Nic Shirley that usually happens to me too. I feel like I can never get the book on it's release date.

Nomes, I am excited to read your review. Sounds so unique :)


message 6: by Nomes (new)

Nomes gorgeous review.

I don't know what to say for mine now, haha.

But it has sparked me to get on with reviewing it.

I haven't read merrow ~ but it read well enough as a stand alone. Do you think I was at a disadvantage having not read merrow first?


Shirley Marr Just be yourself Nomes!

No, you didn't need to have read Merrow first - there's just added cuteness for readers who have, with the crossover scene when Fermion comes face to face with Neem (from Merrow) and kinda bitches about her a bit! :)


Shirley Marr Thank you Stephanie!

I know! *goes off to reads Stephanie's review*


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