BooK Hoot #15 Tender Morsels

**spoiler alert**
Margo Lanagan's controversial fantasy has a very dark start. Liga is abused by her father, sexually and psychologically, but out of this horror comes a beautiful daughter, Branza. As if this isn't enough, she is then raped resulting in another daughter Urdda. The three live and heal in a place which is on the edge of what we would consider the 'real' world. Both of these worlds are nudging and tearing though, and there is movement between them from some minor characters. And a lot of bears!

This sort of text is not my usual cup of tea, but I found it strangely compelling. I wanted to know that life would be better for Liga and the girls. And I thought the writing was poetic and beautiful. Lanagan constructs a dialect which goes to making the world of the text fascinating. It is certainly an original fairytale, borrowing from Grimm's and like those shows just how cruel and unjust life can be. There are moments of tenderness, as the title suggests, and these are poignant and a relief.

Would I recommend this to teenagers? Well, yes. Older ones, who can cope with the darkness. Or those who like fantasy. It is an honest and brutal tale that has much to say.

And as for the controversy, fairy tales are not sweet nor Disneyesque. There are clear signs on the back that this is not a children's book. I hope most adults who are complaining about this text also stop their kids watching crime dramas, or playing violent games. If you don't want this stuff in your head, then you've every right to not read/ watch.

And what a beautiful cover! The artist's work can be seen here.

happy tales,
Barking Owl


  1. Reading this review, I felt there were all too strange parallells with events reported from the USA this week.
    Fiction imitating life, or the other way around?
    Maybe I need to read the book.

  2. I agree -- the original unsanitized fairy tales weren't kid friendly either. I think it's because they contained intense truths about life that couldn't be told to kids directly.