Narrelle's Reviews > Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies

Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies by Lucy Sussex
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Feb 16, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: australian, science-fiction, anthology
Read from February 16 to April 01, 2012

The Essential Lucy Sussex is 500-odd pages of some of the most textured, intelligent, witty, erudite and imaginative spec fic ever produced. That’s not what took me so long to read it, though. The book is also bloody heavy, which created certain problems with trying to keep it open as I read over breakfast. The whole experience prompted a blog post about some things I really like about e-books.

The physical weight of the thing notwithstanding, this collection is full of heft on its own accord. Which isn’t to say it isn’t also sometimes melancholy, funny or even surprising. The 25 stories that make up this collection are textured and fabulous.

Particular favourites in a book stuffed full of goodness are:

My Lady Tongue: This SF story about the vibrant Saffy, from a wimmin’s commune, getting injured and ending up in the care of her natural enemy, a man remains as fresh and exciting as the first time I read it. It references Shakespeare, particularly Beatrice and Benedick and their sharp, sparring dialogue. Such a fresh, lively voice in Saffy, is a joy to read and re-read.

Duchess: I’m not much into fashion, but this story make me see the attraction, with this intelligent, outrageous character and the suggestions of displacement in time, though it could just be madness.

Ardent Clouds: Love, volcanoes and disaster. Beautiful.

La Sentinelle: An intriguing take on the legendof the golem. I’ve always thought lifelike dolls were kind of creepy. This story has set the seal on that opinion.

Something Better than Death: This is a modern take and entertaining analysis of the folk tale of The Musicians of Bremen. It demonstrates Lucy’s capacity to go off in surprising directions, though admittedly, most of her stories do that.

Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies: A sly and entertaining retelling of the Waltzing Matilda story by the other witness to those (and related) events.

The collection contains a lot of stories playing with history, versions of reality, research and discovery, and twists on old folk tales. Every story shines a lot on something you knew nothing about, or thought you knew but didn’t really.

LucySussex was born in New Zealand but now lives in Melbourne. She’s researched and travelled widely, and has done Australian literature the great service of rediscovering one of the nation’s (and first) nineteenth century crime writers, Mary Fortune. Her awesomeness has many facets and very possibly no limits.

If you haven’t heard of Lucy Sussex, you should have. This amazing collection of her body of work spannign almost 20 year is not the whole of Lucy Sussex, but I’d agree it’s essential.

If you feel a bit daunted by the size of the book, get Lucy’s Twelve Planets book, Thief of Lives, first. You’ll be rushing to get her back catalogue once you’ve whet your appetite.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Suzanne (Doppleganger) I have no idea what this book is about, but I love the title!

Narrelle It's a collection of Lucy Sussex's short stories. That title story is the Waltzing Mstilda story from the pov of a bunyip that lives in the billabong. Sussex is brilliant and I recommend her. If you want to start small, get her small collection, Thief of Lives, from Twelfth Planet Press. I'm not sure, but itmight be on Amazon for Kindle.

back to top