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Black Juice

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,274 ratings  ·  225 reviews
In this extraordinary short story collection, human frailty is put to the test by the relentless forces of dark and light, man and beast. Each tale offers glimpses into familiar, shadowy worlds that push the boundaries of the spirit and leave the mind haunted with the knowledge that black juice runs through us all.

Earthly Uses (2004)
House of the Many (2004)
Paperback, 259 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Eos (first published December 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

Based on a Goodreads friend’s review, I went to the library in search of Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels. It was not available, so I borrowed a collection of short stories titled Black Juice.

A little review on the back by author John Marsden caught my eye:

“I want to hire a plane and write BLACK JUICE across the sky so that people will read these intense, rich, disturbing stories.”

Indeed, each story in this collection is richly described, dark and disturbing. Almost
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this collection from the library, because I loved Lanagan's Tender Morsels, a novel I know I would've reread if I were a teenager.

The reader of these stories is plopped, matter-of-fact-ly, into Lanagan's imaginative worlds, places that are not our own but in some ways are familiar. For example, we may not encounter blobby, destructive monsters made from beetles in a rural village set in some kind of past (in the story "Yowlinin"), but we all know the pangs of unrequited love.

Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lanagan's writing is the best part of this collection. Even when a story has a misstep or flounders, it does good things. It has me wanting to try her novels again, as I think I may just be the right age (and have the right expectations) to enjoy them for the prose and the intelligent fantasy that they are.

What you are most likely to find in this anthology (and, from what I gather, in Lanagan's general work):

- Beautiful, horrific prose that captures a tone and voice unlike anything you've read
“Black Juice” is the first adult book that I have reviewed since I mainly reviewed many children’s books. So, the format for any reviews that I do for adult books will be a little more different than how I reviewed children’s books since I will be reviewing the adult books from my own perspective instead of towards the general audience that I usually do for children’s books. “Black Juice” is a Printz Honor book and is one of the earlier books written by Margo Lanagan and it details ten stories ...more
I don't recall having read any anthologies before. I have tried out some random short stories but have not really enjoyed them. I picked this book up at the Caboolture Bookfest as I had Margo Lanagan marked as an Australian author I wanted to try out. I am SO GLAD I found/bought this & SO GLAD this is the first book of collected short stories I have read.

Such dark, sad, creepy tales that are riddled with anxiety of "what's". What happened? What is happening? What is going to happen?

Jun 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Weirdly wonderful. Lanagan manages to capture whole worlds in her brief glimpses of strange and fascinating characters. Even though I would have welcomed longer explorations of each of her worlds, each story felt complete in and of itself. The imagery she uses is simply gorgeous as well.
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of dark, weird stories with a focus on feelings and social conditions
I heard that Lanagan was an author to read, so checked out a book of her short stories - I don't usually really get short stories, but I give them a try every now and then.

Black Juice was definitely worth reading. I wish she would show this brilliance in a full novel (her one 'serious' novel, Tender Morsels, is excellent but doesn't live up to the promise of these short stories). Lanagan has an incredible talent for sketching out characters and worlds and making us care about them in the space
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those wanting to be DISTURBED!!
Recommended to Wayne by: my little sister
The title of this book was warning enough!!!!!

Black Juice has the flavour of a nightmare...nothing makes sense and you are groping for anything that might be familiar and give you a solid piece, even just a weeny piece, to set your toes on so as to catch your breath and take your bearings.
Margo takes you way out of your Comfort Zone with her surreal worlds, like parallel universes, even by just the minimal spelling of "people" as "peeple", and I knew Margo had removed me from my safe little
Sep 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will not write a true review this book for a variety of reasons. For the life of me, I can not figure out how to discuss the stories within this collection, not only because to do so would mean spoiling the plot, but also I can not figure out how to summarize the plots. For certain inclusions in the book, if I were asked what the story was about, I would be left with a blank expression on my face, no words on my lips, but a very specific feeling inside.

That is the crux of the matter. While
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: no-longer-own
The premise: ganked from As part of a public execution, a young boy forlornly helps to sing his sister down. . . . A servant learns about grace and loyalty from a mistress who would rather dance with Gypsies than sit on her throne. . . . A terrifying encounter with a demonic angel gives a young man the strength he needs to break free of his oppressor. . . . On a bleak and dreary afternoon a gleeful shooting spree leads to tragedy for a desperate clown unable to escape his fate.

In each of
Aug 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, fantasy, age-ya
I picked this up after reading an article about YA literature that would appeal to adults. The article had a list of the top ten YA authors for adults, and Margo Lanagan was listed - and the only author I hadn't read. When the blurb about her books mentioned something about a clown massacre in Black Juice, I immediately put it on hold at the library.

The first story in this collection, "Singing My Sister Down," was awesome, and basically the only reason I gave this book three stars. The story was
William Herschel
I used to crave a fantasy book. Not your cookie-cutter grand adventure, no sirree, I wanted something entirely unknowable, completely foreign, not a speck of dust from the Earth. It'd be transcendental and achingly beautiful, beyond my own words.

That doesn't exist.

But it made me of think of the stories in this book, how many of them simply plunge you head-first into a world full of references and places and ideas and characters, some strange world you will never get all the pieces of, similar to
David Mahaffey
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Um, everybody.
Each of the ten short stories in this collection should devastate you as a reader and as a writer. They are dark, uncompromising glimpses of vulnerability--not always human, and when human, not always precisely human--and sometimes that vulnerability does not end in a relieved return to safety. It is a marvel that these stories are told from such alien perspectives yet still fill us with so fierce an empathy for such strange characters in such peculiar straits. The one narrated by elephants is ...more
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is my third Margo Lanagan short story collection, and once again her storytelling has really amazed me! I still have Red Spikes to read of her collections, but I think I am going to read her new novel, Sea Hearts, next as I haven't read any of her novels yet.

Some of her stories move me (in one case to tears), some confuse me, and some are clever, whilst all of them have me thinking about them. One thing I do find is that I often need a gap between one story and the next. I can't just read
Tamora Pierce
Feb 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
While the writing is splendid, all but three stories that I can remember simply stopped--they didn't have an ending. Sometimes the stories just stopped; there was nothing in particular that indicated a resolution of some kind. An event happened and was over or not. The criterion by which I was raised was that in a good work of fiction, the main character had to change in some material way, for good or ill. Only three stories showed that kind of change and resolution.

As I say, the writing is
Margo Lanagan is a great writer. I really enjoyed this collection. They are dark and some are quite disturbing, but nothing so scandalous as Tender Morsels. I really liked all of the stories except the weird clown one called "Red Nose Day." that one was really messed up.

I think I'll shy away from her short stories from now on. She truly is a great writer, but I was so disappointed with the short stories because they are just too short. As soon as I get to know the culture and new world she's
Cara Marie
Nov 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I was a little surprised to find people who didn't find this collection brilliant. Yes, they're disorientating. But for me, that's part of the pleasure: to be thrust into a new world, without the length to find out exactly what makes it tick, but to see it rather through the eyes of those who live it. And the worlds can be scary possibilities, they can be sad, but mostly it is just that for the course of the story, you believe in them. And the characters, amongst their different traditions and ...more
Rebecca McNutt
I liked most of the stories in Black Juice, some more than others, and the human emotion in each story made them even more interesting.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Eery stories, each one creating its own world. She twists language, and makes it do amazing things.
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vivid imagery, wild immaginings, and varied settings, these stories are very intriguing. You should definitely read this collection.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simply delicious. What a stunning collection of short stories. Magical realism at its best.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
Based on the book description, I thought this would be a book of short stories delving into different aspects of the human soul and psyche, both dark and light. That is not what I found and certainly not how I would sell this book. While I was impressed with the first story ("Singing My Sister Down"), and the level to which the author managed to draw the reader into the characters in a few short pages, it was the only one that I thought was worth reading. The rest were, for the most part, ...more
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it
• Igor Kovalyov
• APA citation: Lanagan, M. (2005). Black juice. New York: Eos.
• Genre: Short Stories
• Awards (If applicable): Michael L. Printz Award honor book, 2006.
• Format: Print
• Selection Process: Recommendation
• Review:
Black Juice is a collection of ten short stories set in marvelous and strange worlds. Often dark and even borderline disturbing, the stories feature a young character. The story examines these characters and how they deal with love, relationships, marriage, freedom, abuse
Brittney Johnson
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-13-25
"Black Juice" is Margo Lanagan's collection of riveting 10 short stories. The stories range from far and wide. As part of a public execution, a young boy forlornly helps to sing his sister down...A servant learns about grace and loyalty from a mistress who would rather dance with Gypsies than sit on her throne...A terrifying encounter with a demonic angel gives a young man the strength he needs to break free of his oppressor...On a bleak and dreary afternoon a gleeful shooting spree leads to ...more
Helen Petrovic
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I’d been ploughing through some longer works for the past few months, and I felt like I just needed to read something lighter this week.

By lighter, I mean only in terms of physical size, because Black Juice by Margo Lanagan could not easily be described as light reading. Even though it appears in the Young Adult section, this little 200-page book of short stories packs a punch, and is as dark as its name implies. This is fantasy, but expect no elves or cute dancing fairies (oh, there are
Suzanne Earley
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 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 ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m really not even sure what to say about this collection of weirdness. I certainly can’t deny that Lanagan has a distinct style and writes in a way I can only describe as striking. These stories all came quite vividly to life, but unfortunately, they felt incomplete. I was completely confused through the majority of them, and the stories never felt really explained or properly wrapped up. I found myself reaching the end of each one and thinking, “where’s the rest? What did I miss?” None of ...more
So strange and inventive. I started this totally in awe of the world Lanagan creates in her first short story, and then watched and she created a totally new and unexpected place again and again. Totally recommended for fans of darker fantasy or short story readers.

The only reason for the 3 star rating instead of something higher: I am owning up to the fact that I am not a short story reader. I always start out enjoying them and then by the middle I'm so tired of it I don't want to go any
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I checked out this book because it was a 2006? Printz Honor Book. I was amazed by the stories, especially "Sing My Sister Down", "Sweet Pippet", "Booroondooroon" (spelling?), and the clown story ("Red Nose" or something). These stories were so dark and disturbing and I love them all! I need to read "White Time" ASAP!
Only got to read three stories before I had to give this back, but they were all solid gold.
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Juicer - The chlorophyll of the juice 1 1 Feb 07, 2018 10:15PM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - Black Juice by Margo Lanagan 1 9 Dec 29, 2013 06:23PM  

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Margo Lanagan, born in Waratah, New South Wales, is an Australian writer of short stories and young adult fiction.

Many of her books, including YA fiction, were only published in Australia. Recently, several of her books have attracted worldwide attention. Her short story collection Black Juice won two World Fantasy Awards. It was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and the United Kingdom
“Her heart's too frightened her. And she's such a straight lady--she sees shame where some of us just see people.” 6 likes
“A good heart is when a girl that you loved, a girl who has pained
you and chosen another instead, places in your hands the means to her own ruin. And you could tell it to everyone. But you keep silent, because you can do that, too, and a good heart would do that, a fine man, a man who truly loved her....Let her be lucky now."- A Good Heart.”
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