Black Juice

Margo Lanagan
Black Juice Cover

Black Juice


One description I read of a Lanagan story described its setting as a pre-industrial society. That sounds like a very academic description, but they are right in many ways. These are not not exactly medieval settings, some seem placed among tribal cultures, in others there is a sense of mobility between settings that comes close to being modern. But each story is supremely strange and beautifully crafted.

In "Singing My Sister Down," a family spends the night on mats floated on the surface of the tar pit where their daughter endures a slow execution by drowning. In "My Lord's Man" a young man discovers all he does not understand about adult sexuality. "Yowlinin" features some sweet if cruel payback involving monsters. "Sweet Pippin" has a work crew of elephants searching for the young man who used to lead them. It's an effective blend of Rudyard Kipling and The Incredible Journey.

In all, ten stories it is a pleasure to read. I should say, a sometimes creepy pleasure.