Nesa Sivagnanam's Reviews > Red Spikes

Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan
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's review
Mar 05, 2012

it was amazing
Read on March 05, 2012

In "Baby Jane," a young boy whose mother is a midwife of the New Age hippyish persuasion, finds himself having to deliver a baby for a heroic fantasy warrior queen. The heavily pregnant queen has arrived in our world with her chief counsellor and a bear. They arrive in the boy's home via tiny figurines, but they become full-sized and very real in the night. The queen is believably dirty and ignorant of modern -- or New Age -- childbirth procedures. The bear has to be distracted with honey. Then the party continues on its way, leaving the baby to be protected and raised in our world.

"Monkey's Paternoster" is a story about the sacred monkeys at a temple in India, told from the viewpoint of one of the monkeys, In "A Good Heart," a young peasant whose sweetheart has married the local lord's son learns more about his darling than he would have liked.

"Winkie" is a scary piece; I mean, have you ever really thought about the implications of the nursery rhyme "Wee Willie Winkie"? Margo Lanagan has.

In "A Feather In The Breast of God" a small pet bird returns from the other side to save his beloved mistress from messing up her life. Another gentle tale.

"Hero Vale" gives a fantasy slant to school bullying. "Forever Upward" is set in an island community whose male members have been taken away by the church and whose women have their own way of handling it. In "Mouse Maker" the narrator experiments with a certain form of witchcraft.

"Under Hell, Over Heaven" deals with the old Catholic notion of Limbo and a sad tale it is, too: what if your only crime was that you weren't baptized and you could only look at heaven from outside?
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