Pabkins’ One Liner: Almost everyone loves cake, but this is a completely different kind of slice!
Yellowcake brings together ten short stories from the extraordinarily talented Margo Lanagan–each of them fiercely original and quietly heartbreaking.
The stories range from fantasy and fairy tale to horror and stark reality, and yet what pervades is the sense of humanity. The people of Lanagan’s worlds face trials, temptations, and degradations. They swoon and suffer and even kill for love. In a dangerous world, they seek the solace and strength that comes from family and belonging.
These are stories to be savored slowly and pondered deeply because they cut to the very heart of who we are.
Yellowcake, almost everyone I know loves cake, am I right? Well with this particular anthology I would have to say it will really only appeal to a certain slice of people. Those that don’t mind their fiction being disjointed, vague, obscure and dare I say…odd. While I enjoyed it, I honestly don’t know of anyone that I would recommend it to. It was just that strange. Literally it felt like it was all over the field. One moment it would be something deep I could understand and be in awe of, then next perhaps a love story, only the next story to be confusion and “WTF?” Ultimately, I would have to tag Yellowcake as “hard to place” and I definitely think readers will either fall heavily on the love or hate side of this short story collection. If it sounds appealing to you, I would say give it a whirl.
The Point of Roses
This story was amazing. I loved absolutely everything about it!. Billy sets out one night with a group of boys to experiment with psychic powers. Their experiments have have quite the interesting effects on them all as well as Billy’s grandparents. This was an unexpectedly heartbreaking and warning in equal measure. Also the kids were hilarious!
The Golden Shroud
A retelling of Rapunzel but more along the lines of the damsel in distress instead of the original version. I liked it well enough with so much hair how could it not take on a life of it’s own? The writing style wasn’t my favorite. I believe the author was going for an old world fell which was definitely captured, but I wasn’t personally fond of.
A Fine Magic
I have but one thing to say, Never scorn a sorcerer’s affections! Two eligible and lovely young girls sought after by all the men in town catch the attention of a local fascination (sorcerer). Determined, a bit daft, but ever vengeful is a man when after a woman’s affections! I love the darkly humorous ending.
An Honest Day’s Work
This one was just strange. I couldn’t get a comfortable handle on the dialect style, and when that happens it always hampers my enjoyment a bit. It was an interesting story to be sure. This would be a crazy first day on the job indeed. What was that thing anyhow? I’m still not quite sure!
Into the Clouds on High
Someone, something, somewhos have been trying to call Marcus’ mother away. As a mother I just couldn’t understand how another mother would be so nonchalant about the possibility of leaving her children. This was sad, but not sad. Though I didn’t know what to feel by the end, it was a good short.
Nigh of the Firstlings
All I could think of while reading this was is this some sort of biblical tale? Was that the affliction done to the first born son of each family? And the parting of the sea? This one just wasn’t for me.
Catastrophic Disruption of the Head
Twisted and dark, you should expect that with an opening line like “Who believes in his own death?” This was a tale of a soldier, who changes when he acquires power of an unexpected sort. This story definitely is not for everyone and I was very surprised at the level of violence…or to put it more bluntly violation.
A little of what you can expect:
One of my favorites in this collection. Who could have suspected the Ferryman who shuttles souls across the river Styx is a mortal? So sad and yet not, I almost think that sums up all of Lanagan’s stories. This one though was definitely well done and easy to follow.
Everyone enjoys the circus..or do they? There’s a tragedy that takes place this day, and plenty of curiosities as the title promises. I’ve come to the conclusion that find this author’s writing style very hard to get pulled in by.
Eyelids of the Dawn
Itchy! Do you ever see a bug and then you just can’t help feeling creepy cranky and itchy all over until you take a shower? That’s how the opening scenes of this made me feel. Afterward, it was a pretty fascinating concept. An entire Mall, that’s right the shopping kind, just picks up and walks off. Fancy that?