Deborah Biancotti's Reviews > Love and Romanpunk

Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts
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's review
Jun 15, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: oz, aww2012, writer-women

This is a brilliant read, a fantastic, engaging, fun-packed, occasionally melancholic read that kept me cackling like a madwoman on a three-hour bus ride (I got a whole seat to myself that day, it was awesome).

To my mind - and I could be wrong - the 4 stories fall into either more of the 'love' field or more of the 'romanpunk' field & I realised to my surprise I probably loved the love field more. (I'm usually bored witless by the subject of love - I like to think this is because love is so hard to write about & get right, but it might be because I'm a stone cold kinda gal with little evident emotional life, *bwahaha*.) Anyhow.

What impressed me most of all - what had me curling into a foetal position of pure delight while rocking my iPad out of the sunlight so I could keep reading in the glare of a crappy winter's afternoon - was Roberts .... er, was Rayner Roberts ... er, was the author's ability to *hold two opposing forces within the one story*.

For example, in the first story, "Julia Agrippina's Secret Family Bestiary", we read the story of Julia via the alphabetical encyclopaedia-style compendium of beasties she has fought. We start off lightly, with a delicate humour. But as the story progresses we realise we're witnessing the tragic downfall of Julia's supernatural family. Humour and tragedy, told alphabetically. Brilliant!

"Lamia Victoriana" may be my favourite of the four, though I vacillate. This is the story of a woman who becomes a familiar for the world's last vampire hold. Somewhere a page or so before the end (iPads, they have their downsides) I realised there was *no good way out* of this story, that both possible endings were tragic, that no other endings were at all possible. I was sure of it. And I found the author's mastery of those two opposing forces had infected me, the reader. I wanted one ending, I wanted it a lot, even though it would make me sad to have to read it. And when I didn't get that ending - when I got surely the only other possible ending - I was just as sad as if I'd gotten the ending I wanted. No way out. Damn! I remember saying when I realised which ending I wanted. DAMN! I said when I didn't get it.

See what she's done there? Brilliant!

Occasionally I had to stop reading this slim volume just so I could grin, my eyes squeezed nearly shut by the joy! oh, the JOY! of reading something SO GOOD. Kudos to Ms Roberts ... er... Rayner Roberts ... er...
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S.B. Wright Lamia Victoriana's my fave too.

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