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'Why would I? People are uneasy enough with me if I start bringing up sea wives they'll take against me good and proper' 'It could be secret''Could it?'On remote Rollrock Island the sea witch Misskaella discovers she can draw a girl from the heart of a seal So for a price any man might buy himself a bride; an irresistibly enchanting sea wife But what cost will be borne by the people of Rollrock the men the women the children once Misskaella sets her heart on doing such a thing?Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire and revenge of loyalty heartache and human weakness and of the unforeseen conseuences of all consuming love


10 thoughts on “Sea Hearts

  1. says:

    ‘’Rollrock is a lonely island of cliffs and storms blunt fishermen and their fierce wives Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas But Rollrock is also a place of magic’’When I read and adored Kirsty Logan’s The Gloaming my dear friend Marina recommended Margo Lanagan’s The Brides of Rollrock Island because she knows how much I love myths islands and selkies I can honestly say one time that Marina knows me frighteningly well If you love island communities the Scottish landscape myths and tales witches weird births seals and selkies or if you just need to read a uality tale then you need this book in your lifeIn an island that definitely resembles the Scottish Hebrides a community is torn asunder by Misskaella’s abilities to turn seals into beautiful alluring seemingly docile young women Families and relationships are turned upside down This is Misskaella’s way of exacting revenge for years of contempt and abuse even from her own mother She demonstrates the evil the hypocrisy and ruthlessness of men their willingness to put everything at risk because of an itch ‘’The north road swung up over the cliff almost gaily and we walked it up into the teeth of the wind and it battered our hair and flapped our coat collars The sea on our left tossed moon twinkles about rushed and smashed at the cliffs drummed in the road underfoot’’Lanagan makes excellent use of the fairytales of the sea and the legends of the islands focusing on the beloved myth of the selkie women However she develops the famous story and takes it one step further in a brilliant twist of the age old legend Further she brings the children of the selkie wives out of obscurity and gives them the chance to express their feelings of belonging to two worlds that are so close and so far away Where do they belong? What is it that makes an island community so harsh and unforgiving? What happens when the laws of nature and its balance are violated because of men’s desires and endless ego?Lanagan’s writing is excellent She depicts the language of the islanders and the younger members of the community faithfully and vividly the dialogue is flowing and natural There are many beautiful descriptions of the island at night the community of the seals the fishing villages the harsh domestic life as a responsibility of the resilient mams There were uite a few moments that reminded me of Logan’s The Gloaming and this is the highest compliment for Lanagan’s beautiful novelThe jewel of the story is Misskaella a heroine that will stay with you She is such an interesting character so fierce and proud The way she copes with her awful family and the heathens that surround her with their notions of propriety and their superstitions I believe every thinking girl will find herself connected to her She is the Witch the ‘’Other’’ the one who doesn’t comply the one who rebels The Brides of Rollrock Island is a novel rich in beautiful imagery themes that reuire our attention as it happens in every well written tale and a main character that you will love ‘’Complain? It’s only noise’’ Marina I can’t thank you enough for this gem Hvala ti If I didn’t get that right someone will find himself in trouble My reviews can also be found on


  2. says:

    If you have any expectations of what this book will be like based on the cover throw them away You won't find a dreamy romantic fairy tale retelling here It's like this type of crazy business going onRecipe for a twisted dark fairy tale 1 One crazy witch2 Stupid men who think with the wrong head3 Seals I'm being serious the actual sea creatures4 Blank eyed women who are willing to serve their men Stepford Wife style Confused yet? Trust me I was confused for the first couple of chapters Once I started figuring out what was going on I found myself disturbingly aroused uh scared uh interested Basically this nasty crazy witch woman can call up seals and cut them open These seals then pop out these extremely sensual looking women who are willing to cling to the first person they seebond with Yes it's like mail order brides except of a local affair Needless to say the men were ALL over this trend Islander number 1 Hey Frank you got your hot seal wife yet? Mine cooks me dinner every night before doing the naked tango with me Islander number 2 Nah The dumb witch wants money than I can afford I'm putting in extra hours down at the docks so I can get me a slave soon Think there's a catch? Of course there is That's where the story takes a turnI loved this book but I can honestly say that it won't be for everyone It does take a couple of chapters to get to the point where you feel sucked in Because of the confusing and almost dreary start I could see how some people are going to jump ship before the story gets to a point where you want to keep going because you're bizarrely fascinated with this twisted beautiful and disturbing world I was glad that I stuck with Brides of Rollrock Island because I love books that stray outside of the realm of normal Anything that isn't cookie cutter tends to earn extra marks from meThis author is shelved as YA but I found this book to read like an Adult historical fic wa sprinkling of magical realism Basically a modern albeit dark and grown up fairy tale


  3. says:

    There’s no uestion in my mind that this book is brilliantly written I’ve been consistently impressed and moved by Margo Lanagan’s prose since my first experience with her work a few years ago and this book does not disappoint in that regard However and this will actually be a positive for many readers – this book is far tame and accessible than Tender Morsels It’s even accessible than the short story of hers that I read in Zombies vs Unicorns last year And that’s not to say that this book is all softness and happiness and rainbows – far from it But compared to the other two works of hers that I’ve read this one just isn’t as traumatizing As I said this will actually be a positive for many readers I would definitely suggest this book for anyone who wants to give Margo Lanagan a try without being overwhelmed This is the book you should start with However as someone who loves her darker and gruesome side I actually really missed the shock factor that I’ve come to expect from her I loved this book uite a lot but I know that it won’t linger in my mind uite as much as Tender Morsels still doesThis book is absolutely brilliant though both in its poetic beauty and in its technical precision She is one of the few authors I know of who seems to marry those two elements effortlessly I appreciate both although I think maybe I have a slight preference for poetic beauty over technical precision but when I see them come together in one work of art it never fails to leave me in awe Not only does she seamlessly connect six different narrators she tells this story in a sort of spiraling timeline She starts in the middle moves to the beginning and then moves through the start to reach the end In a less skilled author’s hands all of these narrators and the shifting timeline could easily become a huge mess But she makes it feel absolutely perfect – like the only way this story could possibly be toldI don’t typically enjoy reading through a whole cast of narrators but Margo Lanagan makes me love it Her stories are handed off from one pair of eyes to another like a relay and the result is an incredibly three dimensional view We get to see through the eyes of young Misskaella a girl with a power that she doesn’t understand but that seems to scare or disgust everyone on the small island where she lives As she grows and even her family seems to wish she were never born as her isolation and bitterness increase it becomes easier to see why she would want to punish them all From within the soft blubbery bodies of female seals she pulls forth girls tall pale graceful and biddable girls Girls who seem to bewitch every single man on the island Through the span of decades she changes the entire face of the island effectively removing it from the modern world and isolating everyone who chooses to stay The torch of narration is passed through the wives and children of these men who are cast aside; to the men themselves who are hopelessly lost to the selkie brides; to the children born of these new marriages; and finally back into Misskaella’s life through the eyes of her apprenticeI fell so hard into each one of these different characters that it was sometimes hard to move on But it was exciting too – like having my firmly held beliefs proven wrong over and over again Am I the only one who really enjoys that? The only small gripe I have is that I wish she had included a selkie bride as one of the narrators It sort of happens with Daniel Mallett the son of one of these women but not completely I really wonder why she chose not to include that point of viewHer writing is just absolutely stunning though For example – this passage which is about giving up a child for his own well being “All the years to come crowded into that time and I lived them long and bitter and empty of him The rightness of what I had done and the wrongness both they tore at me and repaired me and tore again and neither of them was bearable”I have never gone through that courageous and painful act but she made me feel as if I hadPerfect Musical PairingThe Cranberries – Dreaming My DreamsWhenever I listen to this song I think about my children growing up and heading out into the world and leaving me behind And I feel such a mix of emotions – pride grief desperation to hold onto their little selves eagerness to prepare them for adulthood I think that the old cliché is right – one of the truest tests of love for another person is the ability to let him or her go And I think that it’s interesting that in The Brides of Rollrock Island it is the “villain” who is able to let her loves go while her “victims” can’t seem to They are so desperate to hold on to their loves that they strangle the life out of them So this is where I come to the from above After writing this review I realize that this book left of an impression on me than I originally thought This book is uieter and subdued than Tender Morsels but it still lingersAlso seen on The Readventurer


  4. says:

    45 stars”Was she beautiful the sea maid? Fair strange Doris had said and I thought that was a fine assessment Fair strange I think that’s a fine assessment of Sea Hearts too beautiful in or for its unusualnessIt’s proving extremely difficult to review Sea Hearts titled The Brides of Rollrock Island in the US in isolation and not hold it up against Lanagan’s previous novel Tender Morsels Though I read the latter earlier this year I still haven’t been able to wrangle my thoughts into review form beyond being able to say that it’s one of the most powerful disturbing and peculiar books I’ve ever read And I do mean that in a good way So I was apprehensive even nervous going into Sea HeartsNow having read them both I can definitely say that there are some similarities between the novels as they both have Lanagan’s singularly complex and artistic use of language atmosphere emotion and thematic depth However while Tender Morsels is almost relentlessly unsettling I believe Sea Hearts without diluting the power of Lanagan’s writing is the accessible bookAnd the writing is exuisite Besides the rich lyrical prose that sets Lanagan apart as a storyteller it’s also incredibly atmospheric Rollrock Island and its small insular community of Potshead are exceptionally well realised Lanagan has created a setting that feels simultaneously familiar and foreign a glimpse of our own past slightly tilted on its axis into something strange and not uite of our world Through dialogue and characterisation the world of Rollrock slips its moorings in reality and occupies a realm of existence just beyond our own all the so as the story of the selkies and sea witches are woven into its historySea Hearts is structured around seven narrators each taking up a layer of the story until it comes full circle At first the framework seems strange and the shifts in perspective and time feel abrupt incomplete Then a synergy in the voices begins to emerge drawing towards a central cohesive thread and it becomes clear just how complex and dark a story Lanagan is weavingOn the surface Sea Hearts is about a sea witch with the ability to draw forth a woman from a seal who begins trading in brides for the men of Rollrock Island But that synopsis barely scratches the surface of what this novel is about This is a deeply insightful story about the conseuences of revenge exacted upon a community and of the sorrow bought with unchecked desire The far reaching effects of rejection fear and loss are adroitly explored through the characters whom Lanagan imbues with sympathy despite their many actions to the contrary This is most evident in Misskaella a character flawed and reprehensible yet deeply human in her story of growth from a spurned child and downtrodden young woman to a calculating and feared crone Some of Lanagan’s most beautiful writing is tied up in Misskaella’s character arc and the conseuences that her personal journey wreaks upon the island Similarly there’s a scene that details a conversation between Daniel Mallett and his mother too long to uote here so poignant and moving for the way it gets straight to the heart of the novel to the private burdens of sorrow and guilt that the island must atone for cumulativelyOf course much like Tender Morsels the style and subject of Sea Hearts won’t be for everyone and I’d even venture to say that it’s an acuired taste The novel can feel dense at times enigmatic to the point of frustration Lanagan compels her readers to unusual dark places and does not always deliver explanations rather reuiring readers to draw their own She does not offer detailed rationalisations for her worldbuilding choices and there are times when I felt out of my depth in the setting However the end result is extraordinary and rewardingTender Morsels in a feminist context has been the subject of much discussion both far in depth and articulately than I could even begin to attempt but I think it’s worth touching on the subject as it pertains to Sea Hearts I do think that Lanagan’s novels have many intelligent things to say about the position of women in society Sea Hearts less stridently than Tender Morsels but still in an insightful and thought provoking manner Throughout Sea Hearts traditional gender roles are very much in evidence and I think that Lanagan subtly challenges these as the plot unfolds The female characters typically occupy narrowly defined places in their society yet both the “red wives” and the sea wives have agency in contesting these Most obvious is the “red wives” in their decision to leave the island in protest against the summoning of the sea wives And while it’s arguable that the sea wives themselves are conjured as “possessions” of the men living under their dominance and as manifestations of the men’s sexual desire and objectification they too have purpose and desire outside being “wives” Their ties to their home and the action this causes them to take clearly demonstrate that their will extends beyond the narrow confines of Potshead’s social norms and expectations and that attempting a forced assimilation only damages the tightly knit community From Miskaella Bet Winch’s mother the sea wives Lory Severner to Trudle Callisher the central female characters of Sea Hearts display different aspects of strength and independence asserting themselves beyond the rigid and limited views of them held by the other characters particularly the menSea Hearts is an unusual novel beautiful in its sadness and haunting closure It works well as a crossover and I’d recommend it to anyone drawn to artful storytelling and literary fiction As for the covers and titles I like them all though I admit a bias for the Australian versions of both I like the title Sea Hearts which is also the title of the original novella from which the novel grew for its duality – it works on both a literal and symbolic level and is therefore open to a variety of interpretations Regarding the covers anyone who’s had a glance at my tumblr knows how I feel about moody pictures involving water spoiler I like them however I think the Australian cover is evocative of the sea wives as they’re described And I think it’s just gorgeous in generalStarting this tonight flails and runs to catch up with LeanneBumping this up the TBR to read with Leanne next week


  5. says:

    The Brides of Rollrock Island is one of those novels that left me with the thought that there is no possible word in the English language that could even attempt to summon up the strange ethereal and mystifying experience that is chronicled in this book As my first venture into Lanagan’s world I have to admit that Brides simply blew me away leaving me utterly breathless It is a slow intriguing tale that often reminded me of Darwin’s An Origin of Species since in many ways Lanagan seems to be recording the evolution of the magic on Rollrock Island through her multiple PoVs characters and generations Brides is a story that sucks you in from the very first page and just keeps sucking the emotions feelings and deepest desires of your soul right out until you close the last page a secret smile upon your face as your mind is a little intelligent your heart a little accepting and your world a little different than ever before It is difficult to properly summarize The Brides of Rollrock Island in any way that could possibly do it justice or cease to reveal one too many spoilers It is suffice I hope to say that much like Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races is a tale of the island of Thisby and its deadly water horses Brides is a tale of Rollrock Island a mystical island on which seals loiter about giving way to the legend of beautiful brides emerging from these seals only to pine for the ocean every waking hour they spend away from it It is on this island that Misskaella is born to a family like any other except for the stark difference that a generation’s buried affinity for magic has been successfully suppressed until the birth of Misskaella herself It is these two seemingly un similar occurrences – a forgotten legend and the birth of a woman with magical abilities – that spark the story arc of Brides Within her latest novel Lanagan weaves a complex tale of carefully extracted revenge using seven different PoV’s to transition between past present and future; woman child and man Each PoV is uniue different and surprisingly deep As each one unfolds the overarching arc of the novel becomes clearer and clearer as Lanagan carefully peels back the intricate layers of her world its psychology its people and its world in and of itself The Brides of Rollrock Island is not a tale of happiness but neither is it one of despair If anything it is bittersweet at its finest a blend of subtle joy sprinkled amongst a sea of troubles injustices and unfairness’s Yet at its core it is a beautiful and touching story one that gives strength lends hope and leaves you thinking for hours afterwards The Brides of Rollrock Island despite being a story of revenge is not a story that puts blame on any one person or group of people In fact Lanagan masterfully weaves her story in such a way that it is impossible to tell right from wrong All we are able to glean from this novel at the end is that its course was inevitable Any one of us if thrown into the positions of these characters would have mostly likely reacted the same way making this a strangely believably tale Further the undertone of doom of history living on to repeat itself again and again of men falling prey to the beauty that is beheld by eyes and not the heart or mind to women falling prey to trust of men who woo them with words of children falling prey to the prejudices of their parentsall this is within human nature and its cycle will repeat itself and the events that occur on Rollrock are all bound to occur yet again in another hundred years or so If anything it is this theme of being unable to control one’s fate that is so aptly felt Yet the subtle undertones of this novel indicate otherwise Whether it be the women of Rollrock Island who have the strength and courage to leave her husbands who want beautiful sea wives to a new life in a foreign town or the children of the sea wives who find it in themselves to defy the fathers they look up to and grant their mothers the happiness they seek or whether it is the witch of Rollrock herself who finds a way to love and happiness despite her estrangement from society which was granted to her based solely on her appearance and gift of magic she couldn’t control The Brides of Rollrock Island is full of characters who take fate into their own hands Of characters who decide to mold what they want from life despite what circumstances have thrown at them It may be a story of aching sadness and despair but it is also a novel of so much strength and hope and courage that one cannot help but come away from it an inspired individual Nevertheless what I loved most about The Brides of Rollrock Island is without a doubt its ending For once here is a novel that starts out strong builds and keeps getting better and ends with the strongest note of all If there is such a thing as a perfect novel it is probably this one as its prose is beautiful its story mesmerizing its characters three dimensional and its capacity to make you open your mind and think and revel and accept is simple astounding I just cannot recommend this novel enough It is a story that will stick with me for a long time to come and one that I will undoubtedly return to in a matter of years confident that I will come away from it with even knowledge uestions wisdom and mind blown than ever before If you choose to read just one Margo Lanagan novel or one Aussie Fantasy or just one book let it be this one It lacks the capacity to disappoint; trust me You can read this review and on my blog Ivy Book Bindings


  6. says:

    The back of the book says we see the deepest of human cruelty but also of love Wrong there is no love in this bookIf you like the last episode of Twin Peaks you'll like this book That's not exactly a good thing This novel takes 'cerebral' to a whole other degreeFirst off there's a difference between throwing your reader into a novel's world no holds bar and throwing a reader into a world and not caring if they understand what on earth is going on Only half way through the book will you begin to even become comfortable in the world about 200 or so pages in which is not a good thing Not that I don't mind books not having a layman character that I can relate to in ignorance of what's going on but I would like some explanation of what the hell is going onYou basically shouldn't read the first chapter of the book There's no purpose to it in all honesty The language the actions of the characters have no impact on the story and serves only to confuse the readerAs for the rest of the novelit builds upsort of and has no real climax Like a meal of rice and milk there's no flavor besides the novelty of the world Men can pay a witch to bring women out of seals that are beautiful and magical They all fall in love with them and kidnap them to their houses driving their real women away form the island because their husbandfianceessons are resorting to affairs and adultery to have these seal women The witch does this because everyone on the island was a horrible human being anyway so this is her revenge because the seal women are depressed to be away from the sea even as they have children with their new husbandsThat's the book There's nothing else to the story and there are no likable characters There are character's you feel bad for and you want to see victorious but they are in the end either corrupted or loose At one point you think a male character who will resist the witch but no He fails tooThe author seems to just loathe men And while I'm against man hating posing as feminism which permeates through literature like wild fire I find it insulting that the men of this island get no punishment Oh after the climax they feel sad sure But that's it They're free to go on with their lives I can see where sorrow could be enough of a punishment but the author is too focused on her flowered language and imagery to actually portray some kind of human emotionThat's really all it is pretty without emotion The language is lovely and reading it is like eating candy but it makes to sick after a while when you try and clutch for some sort of plot or reason to keep readingThis is my first novel by this author and while I like her writing style I'm hesitant to read another by her award winning or not


  7. says:

    45 StarsMelancholy If I had to capture Margo Lanagan’s The Brides of Rollrock Island in one word melancholy would be the one Melancholy is sad but also thoughtful; beautiful and heartbreaking–as was this tale The Brides of Rollrock Island isn’t a streamlined book Told from six varying points of view our tale begins in the middle reverses to the beginning and moves forward to the end with a motion that indicates that this is a story that has happened before and one that can happen again The age old adage that history is doomed to repeat itself is ever present in Lanagan’s book–we know roughly what will happen because it has all happened before and we end with the unshakable knowledge that it is only a matter of time before events take a similar course once againThe Brides of Rollrock Island is a book with no heroes or villains it is a book where every man woman and child falls victim to their humanity or lack thereof Who do we point fingers at? Who do we blame when things go wrong? The answer is complicated beyond our ability to grasp when we see clearly each sides’ motivations The men of Rollrock cannot help but be bewitched and enraptured by the seal women who come to shore the selkies cannot help bewitching or having hearts ever torn between the sea and the men they love and how can we blame a woman who has endured many cruelties for dooming others to share what touch of happiness she has known?If it seems as if this is another review where I will talk little of the story and much of the atmosphere you are correct I firmly believe it is best for readers to open The Brides of Rollrock Island with a mystery hanging over their head knowing only that it will be breathtaking but there are some details I will share The Brides of Rollrock Island has a haunting and sad air about it much like a Gothic novel and while one could impose its time as early 20th century the story also remains timeless in a manner that is rarely captured The island of Rollrock itself embodies the notion of setting as character with a spirit personality and story of its own It will make you long to breathe salt in the air spend your days on rocky shores and gaze into the sad dark eyes of wild creaturesOne of the most uniue aspects of The Brides of Rollrock Island is the way it tells a very adult story through the eyes of children and young adults Each narration in the book is from the eyes of a child or young adult and as they age into adulthood we stumble into the point of view of another learning to see the island and its people in new ways Creating the perfect crossover story Lanagan has written a tale that will captivate young and old alike with an ebb and flow of characters that matches the ever changing sea itself Our characters grow our views of them morph from pity to understanding to admiration to scorn as we experience The Brides of Rollrock Island from nearly all anglesNearly I say because there is one point of view that remains elusive–that of the sea brides themselves I actually didn’t realize this upon reading until it was pointed out to me by Catie in her review I’ve decided however that this is not a point of complaint for me I actually kind of love that while we are given a small glimpse of their souls the selkie women remain largely mysterious and otherworldly As humans we so often need human or part human narrators to understand those creatures of myth and The Brides of Rollrock Island is no exception I would love to understand the sea wives but in the end I’m not sure that would be fair to them Their men children and those who lived elsewhere certainly never fully understood these women so who am I to do so?Margo Lanagan’s The Brides of Rollrock Island is a stunning and beautiful work of fantasy one that is as cold as it is rich and as lyrical as it is cruel It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2012 and it did not disappoint–on the contrary–it exceeded all possible expectations and has been one of my favorite reads this year I had intended to read this one as a read along with Jen and Heather but alas real life and hurricanes got in our way and we never really aligned–still it’s a wonderful work I’m looking forward to discussing now that we’ve finishedOriginal review posted at Bunbury in the Stacks


  8. says:

    When you read a Margo Lanagan book you expect it to both confuse and enthrall you And THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND delivers that head spinning gut churning fizzy brained mixture of “what in the world is going on?” and “did she really go there?” and “oh my goodness she is a genius”You can read THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND as a nontraditionally narrated snapshot of an island’s history with no straightforward plot and no answers to what’s right or what’s wrong in this world That’ll either confuse the hell out of you or you will be delighted at the amount of space Lanagan allows readers to bring in their own values and interests to the story Those who want to find a depiction of the complex meanings of domestic loyalty get that Or you can also read it for its marvelous craft its characterization and worldbuilding It’s a story that gives no clear answers and is all the special because of thatMuch like Thisby Island of The Scorpio Races Rollrock Island feels like an entity of its own Lanagan skillfully weaves a picture of an island suffocated by yet dependent on its claustrophobic living conditions neighbors knowing one another’s businesses and knowing who marries who and who’s doing what with who else’s woman I find stories contained in a small area where each inhabitant must be developed with his or her uniue idiosyncrasies so much interesting and realistic than plain Jane YAs set in Anywheretown America The people and the island setting force one another to reveal their imperfect weird alivenessFor those who appreciate great writing and are tired of the repetitious plots and characters that appear in so much YA THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND will renew your faith in the magic of writing


  9. says:

    I got this on audio from AudioBookSync Wow this book is weird There's something peculiarly haunting about selkie folklore I can picture a careworn exhausted mother telling the story to her daughter Once the women could swim free before they were robbed of their skins I can see a father still mourning the loss of his wife from childbirth telling it to his young son The women don't want to leave their husbands and children but they're torn and the sea is in their nature and someday they must return to it The symbolism of the story is so very direct when the man sees the selkie women carefree and beautiful and happy he is enchanted and his enchantment uickly turns to acuisitive lust He steals a skin and thereby imprisons the maiden turning her from a creature of the wild seas to an obedient wife He keeps her skin her agency locked away and without it she is utterly dependent upon him unable to leave unfit to seek the freedom of the ocean But since this is a fairy tale the skin cannot remain hidden forever When the selkie gets it back she abandons not only her greedy husband but usually her children as well Is this too a metaphor? An attempt to explain to a child why a mother might leave either through death or by her own volition? And which is the happy ending? I suppose it depends upon who is telling the story But anyway Lanagan took a different path While the theme of selkie freedom is of course intrinsic to the story she leaves the agency metaphor alone In fact despite a massive narrative cast the only set of characters who are never given voices are the selkies themselves Throughout the story they remain mute stripped of self expression along with their skins The oddest aspect of Lanagan's version and the part I can't wrap my mind around is that in her story the root cause of all the evil is a wicked witch In the end the men may be weak for bowing to temptation but since there are evil spells involved they must not be all that bad for imprisoning the selkies forcing them into marriage effectively raping them and ignoring their overwhelming depression Clearly it's all the fault of that wicked female witch There's an overarching theme of evil begetting evil after all we get to see how the evil witch becomes an evil witch but I couldn't help but feel that her presence trivializes things a bit Or maybe not Maybe Lanagan doesn't see temptation as an excuse I suppose it's all down to interpretation I'm not sure it's something I would have picked up myself but I definitely found Sea Hearts a thought provoking read


  10. says:

    This is my first Lanagan but by no means will it be my last From the very words chosen to the way they’d been woven together the feel of this is long and lush dense and at times too much Everything is so specifically and skillfully put together that I felt the moody dark and yes sometimes even disturbing tone just propelled me forward I’ve come away with characters that cannot help but be well realised Better yet those seven voices each building upon what’s last been said serve up stories that are so clearly depicted that the choices made whether hard or sad or uestionable were simply decisions but the people uite simply are who they are People Never obvious than with Miskaella and Daniel where Misakaela’s tale starts from sad girl to feared woman her choices are not as disturbing and they were given the background laid down of her or the painful story of of Daniel and his mother when at last the wrongness of what’s been done is voiced out Of course set in a place time that’s two things at once reading this was uite the experience for me The place is a bit unclear given the oddness and strangeness mixed in what could be A sea witch calling forth sea wives for men of Rollrock Island red wives leaving sea wives staying so that what’s initially odd becomes less odd and only to later become what is It’s disturbing and dark but genuine and though provoking a woman’s place a man’s choice a son’s duty a mother’s love but at the core are the people and the choices each made and then later still the conseuences of all those Surprisingly with each of the seven building on what’s been said there’s an ending that’s haunting leaving me only uestions a fact that is not necessarily a negative 55 Just know that if I could give BRIDES stars than a 5 I would