viernes, 28 de mayo de 2010

Tender Morsels

Tender Morsels (Allen & Unwin, 2008)
by Margo Lanagan
Australia, 2008

Crap fairy tale/fantasy snoozefest with an "edgy" exploitation movie vibe that must seem really intense to 15-year old girls with bedroom walls full of unicorn posters.  A favorite of bloggers everywhere, natch! (

Sigrid Undset, I mean, Margo Lanagan

13 comentarios:

  1. Good morning to you too, friend! :) How did I see this coming? First of all, I think the unicorn lover might be traumatized by the incest, forced miscarriages, and gang rape elements of the novel. As someone that works with children, I would be very cautious about who reads this.

    Secondly, a big reason this fails to work for me is the mixed message of re-engaging in reality when that reality has proven so ugly. The suggestion of women as tender morsels not just as bear food from the Grimm brothers but in the carnal sense as well. Not successfully written away or against.

    Enjoyed the way her language flowed in a very atmospheric, fairy tale sense though. Will post later today.

  2. Phew, not as bad a reaction as I had suspected! Ahem. I had some problems with it to, but like Frances I did enjoy the writing. Funny comparison to Undset - I'm almost finished, and the last couple of chapters definitely are making me go a little cross-eyed... It's making me giggle a little to think that you actually read it! Kudos, and...I'm sorry? :)

  3. I agree with Frances that it can be so delightful when someone reacts exactly the way you'd imagine! It's sort of like having Control over the world!

    However I disagree with her about the unicorn - a very apt symbolic image for a story in which outsize male members play a large role!

    The book really wasn't my cup of tea either, but I think it's worth considering why fairy tales are so enduring - although I think one of the reasons - the valorization of patriarchal values - has been removed by the author.

    My post is here:

  4. *Frances: Good morning right back at you, book pal! As you might have gathered, I didn't care for anything Lanagan did here. Can't speak for what would traumatize the real-life little people that you mention and work with, but I agree that the "incest, forced miscarriages, and gang rape" might be a bit much for that age range. On the other hand, without those "adult" elements and themes, Lanagan's novel is just a long, uncompelling story about magic bears, moon creatures, and teen witches. Hence, not really fit for adult entertainment consumption, either. Hated her use of dialect, too. Anyway, look forward to your post and what I imagine will be a much more nuanced write-up than my own, ha ha!

  5. I didn't like this either. It got too long and drawn-out once they left Magic Land. I think Lanagan would have been better off focusing on the fairy tale aspects.

    Will post later today.

  6. *Sarah: No apologies necessary--it's not like it's your fault that Lanagan wrote such an extremely crappy and overrated book! I find it interesting that so many people seem to enjoy the writing in Tender Morsels, though; for my part, I couldn't stand the novel's authorial voice, the goofball dialogue, and that "littlee man" dialect nonsense. Ok, now that I think about it some more, maybe you do owe me an apology after all, ha ha! :)

    *Jill: "Why fairy tales are so enduring" might be an interesting thing to consider, sure, but I don't see it as particularly germane here given Lanagan's uninteresting contributions to the genre. Think it's helpful to think of Tender Morsels as a sort of boring children's song as performed by Barney the Dinosaur "livened up" with gangsta rap lyrics and tropes! Glad you picked up on my little unicorn joke, though--my one concession to Lanagan's forest of immature and obvious symbols!

  7. Haha, yeah, SHOCKER on your reaction, Richard.

    I get the impression I found more food for thought here than many folks did, despite several aspects that didn't work for me either. Unlike Frances I found it fairly convincing that Liga would eventually find reasons to value the real world, for example. And I didn't find it as boring as you did, although good grief, I do agree with EL Fay that it would have been a lot stronger at half the page count. Ah well. Maybe my qualified enjoyment of this book is my reward for reading all the glowing accolades for Let the Great World Spin...

  8. *E.L. Fay: Given that neither the fantasy nor the non-fantasy elements in the story did anything for me, I'm not sure I would have been happy with even a novella-length treatment by Lanagan. It certainly would have been less tiresome that way, though, don't you think?

    *Emily: So everyone's a Nostradamus when it comes to my tastes today, huh?!? LOL. Although your post actually emphasizes one of the few interesting themes I saw treated in this book--the intent to address hardcore trauma and coping mechanisms--I couldn't decide whether Lanagan was just boring or gutless and boring in the way she approached it (i.e. nothing like incest and the like to jazz up an otherwise pedestrian story). It would help if I knew whether she intended the work for kids, for adults, or a general audience (the Australian version of the book carries a mere "fiction" tag rather than a "young adult" label), but I'm not interested enough in her final product to bother doing any research on that question. Live and learn!

  9. I loved your comment about Barney with gangsta rap lyrics. I checked on youtube and it appears others have had that same notion, probably also as a response to reading Lanagan. Here is just one of the many examples:

  10. As I might have expected from you: an erudite post on a book I'm halfway through. I'm not sure whether I love it or hate it, but your thoughts did make me smile. As usual. I hope to have my post up by tomorrow.

  11. LOL, that video's hilarious.

    But seriously, those lyrics are disgusting.

  12. *Jill: Have yet to check out the Barney rap video "inspired" by Lanagan, but I'll get around to it once I recover from my weekend trip. In the meantime, always impressed with your "specialist" research chops, my friend!

    *Bellezza: Thanks, glad you got a smile out of the post, which was at least part of my intention (the rest, clearly, to express my dissatisfaction with the work). Somebody else was so upset by this same post that he wrote me a multi-paragraph e-mail over the weekend chiding me for various breaches of blogging etiquette!

    *E.L. Fay: Hilarious and disgusting? Sounds like Tender Morsels without that hilarious baggage!

  13. I just knew you would sneak Undset in there somewhere! LOL. But seriously, I liked Kristin L more than this. I was turned off from the very first sentence in this book, not because of content but because of language. Me and Lanagan's writing didn't gel together at all. Although Emily and EL and Jill might've convinced me to at least skim to the fantasy world part. Convince me otherwise??