Red Spikes, by Margo Lanagan

Red SpikesMuch like Black Juice, this is a collection of intellectual, beautifully-written, dark, and obscure stories that stretch the boundaries of fantasy, horror, and magical realism. It seems to me (though I’m not certain) that it deals more explicitly with religious themes than Black Juice did; “A Feather in the Breast of God” and “Under Hell, Over Heaven” deal with different visions of the afterlife, while “Mouse Maker” and “Forever Upward” take on the sociology of religion.

These are stories that take a lot of thought to get the most out of, thanks to the complex themes, Lanagan’s brilliant use of language, and the blank spots in the stories; Lanagan never overexplains, and there were times when I wished for something a little bit more straightforward, a little bit more linear and spelled-out. But then they wouldn’t be Margo Lanagan stories, would they?

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