Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

I was keen to read ‘Sea Hearts’ (note the book is called The Brides of Rollrock Island in the USA) after seeing a mention of Margo Lanagan on Twitter. This prompted me to do a google search and I came across a youtube video of Margo Lanagan discussing the story. All of this interest in Margo Lanagan culminated in the Adelaide Writer’s Week for the Adelaide Festival of Arts in March 2012. This is the most wonderful 6 days (yes, not a week really!! – refer to my earlier post about AWW) dedicated to all things Author, Books, and the publishing world.  Fortunately, this year I was working in the city and dashed down in a late lunch hour to hear Margo talk, along with Michael Crummey who’s book Galore I have just finished (a big WOW for that one also!).

I had finished Sea Hearts before the Writer’s Week event and upon attending loved how I could relate to the discussions. Margo Lanagan read an excerpt from the book, one that is particularly emotionally and vividly told, it made me shed a tear – so beautiful, makes me emotional just thinking about it now months after reading it. This gives you an idea of the strength of writing of this book. I will not quote it here, it is one thing to hear an author read her own work, but to read a passage out of context on a blog just wont do it justice.

I do say this often when I review, but I am determined to bring only my own feelings and responses to books as I read them. I am not one to minutely analyse the structure of a book, there are plenty of fabulous bloggers who conduct detailed and comprehensive reviews. If you are reading this blog, then I assume you must enjoy the way I review the books that I read.

This is a book that took my breath away with the sheer magic of the story and writing. My book is currently on a merry-go-round of loaned reading. It has been a revelation to some of my friends who get a bit squirmy when I mention fantasy/supernatural themed books. But what I can say is that those skeptics who looked at me sideways, as I said ‘you have to read this book, gasp‘ are now the gaspers!

Lanagan creates a story with a rhythm and soul that is captivating. I found the characters so rich and likeable, even the horrid one (integral to the story) had so much depth and pathos. For me the stand out of the story was the relationships of the men and their little boys to the women, so sad and so loving. Whilst the men were in my opinion selfish in their love it was no less sincere and devoted, but the boys – oh those little boys, a mix of their mothers and fathers.

I could very much relate to the boys in the story as I have two gorgeous ones of my own. My littlest cherub had a jumpy start to life and I think that this has impacted on how we relate to each other, or cling to each other as the case may be at times. There is something Selkie like in our own little strange relationship that I saw reflected in Lanagans book.

I am now looking forward to reading some other Margo Lanagan books, I hear that Black Juice is particularly good also. The question is, how is it that I had never heard of her until this year? If you want a real treat, grab a this book and read!


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