Friday, March 30, 2012

Chat With Margo Lanagan

Over on Egoboo WA I've been chatting with Margo Lanagan, the multi award winning australian fantasy writer. I'm a great fan of Margo's writing - I'm currently on my second reading of Sea Hearts - released a few weeks ago by Allen & Unwin.

I first met Margo when she was one of my tutors at Clarion South 2007 although I had read some of her work before. She has a great sense of humour and a wonderful way with language. It's poetic and grittily real at the same time which makes for a satisfying and unsettling experience that adds greatly to her stories. I only found out when interviewing her that she started out as a poet which goes a long way to explain the unique quality of her writing.

I'm loving Sea Hearts (released as The Brides of Rollrock Island in the UK and USA). The stories around selkies have always fascinated me. A short story about one appeared in the first short story collection I ever read. It was required reading for my first year in high school and I don't even remember who wrote it or its title but it has stayed with me ever since. The image it evoked of a seal becoming a man and the lover of a girl who eventually joined him as a seal herself fascinated me. The selkie and girl were very much equals in that story but Margo Lanagan's selkies are part of a very different scenario. She raises some complex and confronting issues as she tells the story of the people of Rollrock Island. I'm enjoying it, if possible, even more on this second reading as I pick up on the nuances and details that make both the island and its inhabitants so alive.

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