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Red Spikes


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About the Author

Margo Lanagan is an internationally acclaimed writer of novels and short stories. Her collections of short stories have garnered many awards, nominations and shortlistings. Black Juice was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, won two World Fantasy Awards and the Victorian Premier's Award for Young Adult Fiction. Red Spikes won the CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers, was a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book Fanfare title, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize and longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Her novel Tender Morsels won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Margo lives in Sydney. She maintains a blog at and can be found on Twitter as @margolanagan.


Lanahan, whose Black Juice won critical acclaim both in her native Australia and in the U.S., will further enhance her reputation with this fine second collection of 10 stories. Driven by beautiful, often quirky language and deep psychological insight, these works demonstrate a powerful sense of the marvelous. In "Baby Jane," a boy on holiday hears a magical servant shout, "My queen is in difficulties. Is there a midwife here?... Any kind of leech, any wise woman," and finds himself in charge of delivering a royal child; a different sort of child, an emotionally needy girl who fears she will "die of her distress" after being separated from her mother for a night, must show some gumption and outwit the terrifying, baby-eating ogre Wee Willie Winkie in "Winkie." Other memorable characters include the dead souls in Limbo, who in "Under Hell, Over Heaven" earn brownie points by transporting the recently deceased to their final reward or punishment; and the eponymous "Daughter of the Clay," an unhappy changeling who travels to fairyland and decides in the end that it's best for her "to stay silent, on my bottom among the Clay, and fill my mouth with fish." Gritty, dark and sometimes very nasty, these stories are, at their best, worthy of comparison to the fairy tales of Angela Carter. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'...I was astonished by Red Spikes...The inventiveness, variety and quality of each story are extraordinary...Lanagan seems to have tapped into a bottomless reservoir of inspired creativity, each piece a unique gem.' Viewpoint, Summer 2006'...Lanagan has an extraordinarily dark sense of humour and takes obvious delight in subverting our expectations.' Junior Bookseller + Publisher, September 2006'...Highly imaginative...disturbing in their oddness...Every story is unexpected.' Australian Book Review, October 2006

Gr 9 Up-Continuing in the style of Black Juice (HarperCollins, 2005), Lanagan presents 10 more tales of life, death, love, and the supernatural. Familiar places and concepts are turned upside down and inside out, and spun into something new and intriguing. "Winkie" takes a child's nursery rhyme and uncovers a dark, nightmarish core. In "A Feather in the Breast of God," the spirit of a pet bird returns to aid a family member in distress. The Catholic concept of Limbo provides the background for an examination of souls doomed to wander "Under Hell, Over Heaven." In a few brief pages, Lanagan manages to delineate her characters clearly, placing them in situations that test the limits of their courage and the depths of their humanity. The writing is haunting, evocative, and thought-provoking, though as with most short-story collections, some selections give greater satisfaction than others. Libraries with a high demand for tales of the fantastic will be particularly interested in this book.-Christi Voth, Parker Library, CO Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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