Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan

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Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Vivid, sometimes unsettling, short stories from the uber-talented pen of Margo Lanagan, who can give a sense of an entire community in just a few sentences. This is one for creative types who are interested in the flexibility of word and story.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 223 Date: June 2013
Publisher: David Fickling
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1849921113

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We should always make time for short stories. Especially if they are written by Margo Lanagan. In Yellowcake, a traveller boy uses three items to reunite an old man with his memories. A boy with a crippled foot watches his townfolk butcher a beautiful creature washed up in their harbour. Rapunzel gets a makeover in which things turn out differently. We find out how the Ferryman of the Dead became the Ferrywoman. And more. I don't want to say much more for fear of ruining it all for you.

They are unsettling stories, often uncanny, and dense. Like all good short stories, what they don't say matters as much as what they do. Gaps and pauses matter.

I am a big fan of Margo Lanagan and I loved these stories. Her ability to conjure an entire community, or relationship, or lifetime, with very few, often oblique, words is absolutely unparallelled. I love the way she combines homely detail with hints at the supernatural. Everything is earthy even when it's magic, and so, so believable. I get lost in the worlds she creates and sometimes it's quite difficult to wake myself up when I've finished reading. Yellowcake was no different.

Even so, if you're new to Lanagan, I wouldn't start with Yellowcake. These stories are mysterious and their inner meanings are quite difficult to fathom. You'll still have questions when you get to the end. I would begin with Tender Morsels or The Brides of Rollrock Island and get used to her style through a full length story with a clear plot. But then you must read Yellowcake. Because you shouldn't miss anything by Lanagan. She's interesting. She's original. She's a force of nature just like the forces of nature she writes about.

Highly recommended, especially for fans of this stunning author.

If you want to read more short stories, we can recommend M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman, Counting Stars by David Almond and The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers. You might also appreciate Thunderstruck by Elizabeth McCracken.

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Buy Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan at


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