Subversive Reader Reviews: Cracklescape (AWW2013)

Book reviews and AWW posts can be found here.

AWW2013 – Book 8


Adventures of a Subversive Reader: Cracklescape

Margo Lanagan
Adult Speculative Fiction

Kindle e-book, Purchased through Amazon


Another of the Twelve Planets series, like Love and Romanpunk, this book contains four short stories. Unlike Love and Romanpunk, though, which had a clear storyline thread through the four books, the thing that connects the stories in Cracklescape is more fleeting and indescribable – a bit ghostly.

The first story, The Duchess Dresser, is a story about a share house and the ghost that is invited in when Tan brings home a dresser with a mysteriously locked drawer. Tan and the other members of the household are curious but accepting of the dresser, and the woman who seems to live among them, particularly in their sleep. The Isle of Suns, which is probably my favourite story is about a group of children who set off, Pied Piper style, lured by tall and thin and golden people. The third story, Bajazzle introduces Sheelas and a deeply unlikable main character and is better read than reviewed. The last story, Significant Dust, slips back and forward between times, as Vanessa run from the ghosts of her past.

Margo Lanagan’s writing is like poetry – even if you’re not exactly sure what’s going on in the story (and at times I definitely felt like this – it’s been great thinking it over for a couple of days) you’re carried away by the pure beauty of the words. Her characters feel very real, like people you should know, even if they’re ghosts who reside in a locked drawer. A lot of people talk about the genre bending quality of the author’s work and I can understand that – this is a very accessible collection of stories, even if speculative fiction isn’t really your thing. It wouldn’t be out of place with a literary collection of short stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed these, and am both happy and sad that I’ve completed two of the Twelve Planets books – as much as I want to read them, I always want more there to read!




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