Sunday, 17 November 2013

Yellow Cake- Margo Lanagan

As National Short Story week draws to a close, I'm sharing my thoughts on Yellow Cake by Margo Lanagan.  Highly regarded within the literary scene, loved by popular authors such as Jill Murphy and raved about by the press, I was excited to be experiencing Lanagan's writing for the first time.

I sometimes struggle with short stories, especially when they feel rushed or lack a solid conclusion.  The other downfall is that it is hard to build up an empathy for a character in so few words, much moreso than in a full length novel.

Yellow Cake is a diverse collection of short stories, magical and other worldly in both style and content.  There are ten stories in all, mostly 15-30 pages each in length.  I must admit that some of the stories in this collection were not to my taste, although in a selection such as this that is perhaps not surprising.  However, the stories I did enjoy, in particular The Golden Shroud based around Rapunzel's plight in the tower and Into the Clouds on High, a story of loss within a family unit, have made a lasting impression and I am sure will stay with me for a long time to come. 

Yellow Cake might not appeal to everyone.  The tales are fantastical and told through elegant prose.  The fairytale-like storytelling is original and quirky and there were points where I found myself craving more emotion from the characters- the stories where Lanagan explores intense feeling and longing are the most successful.

Enjoy the remainder of National Short Story week.  This genre is a great way to explore new authors, themes and writing styles and is well worth celebrating!

Yellow Cake is out now, published by David Fickling Books.

5/10 for the collection as a whole

With thanks to the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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