- I was challenged by Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels and wanted to read more. Plus, I love the selkie myth.
Summary from GoodReads:
On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives.
The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.
Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.
Out of all the mythical creatures out there, I think one of the most magical and haunting is the legend of the selkie. The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan treats these beautiful, mysterious creatures with the respect deserved. She tells their story with some of the most beautifully painted pictures and heart-breaking scenarios imaginable.
Told in several parts, each from a separate point of view (including the “witch” who brings the woman forth from the seal), this is a complex story that begins with a warning dated from some point in history and moves into a present which has failed to learn from its own history. The Brides of Rollrock Island deals with greed, power, lust, pain, heartache, infidelity, and strength. It’s not a book to be taken lightly, or picked up with the thought of some mindless amusement for a few hours – but then again, that shouldn’t be a surprise considering the author.
Margo Lanagan’s book Tender Morsels was my first experience. I found it raw and brutal – and in a way, The Brides of Rollrock Island has the same rawness and brutality, but it’s more muted. The true horror in this story didn’t hit me until I’d closed the book and took several hours to reflect on what I’d finished reading. Much like the selkie women, the story held a fascination for me that kept me in its grip and refused to let go until enough time had passed.
I don’t know that I’d recommend this to teenagers unless I was convinced of their maturity, as it’s not your typical fantasy young adult read. I think this is more for those thoughtful people out there who enjoy being challenged to stretch their reading limits and learning about a culture and its myths which may be drastically different from his or her own.
Don’t just take my word for it! Check out what these bloggers say!
- The publisher provided this review copy via NetGalley.
- Published by: Knopf Books
- Release Date: 9/11/2012