Margo Lanagan’s retelling of the Selkie myth set in the strange, yet oddly familiar island fantasy ‘Sea Hearts’ is mesmerising. Her masterful depiction of this tragic tale of the seal women of Rollrock Island is dripping in poetic prose so spellbindindly salty that the musty, sour, seaweed smell lingers in the ambience long after you have put the book down.
In a fluid narrative told from multiple points of view emerge characters so distinctly drawn from the depths of knowing. Her words swim, slip and slide into your subconscious awakening every sea fantasy you’ve ever had. It’s poetry in motion: it’s a lanquid lie waiting to be stirred up by the insistent waves.You don’t read it, you live it.
It floats your senses, moving the sea inside you. It washes over you. It invades your being and makes you question what it is to love and know you cannot hold onto that. She weaves a magical, sultry, sea-stained story that has you hooked from start to finish. She conjures up selkies from seaweed and salt air with sparkling language bubbling up from the deep. Time stands still in this story of love and letting go; between fantasy and myth, between love and longing.
Enthralled and enchanted by prose so visceral it hurts, it’s an experience unlike any other.
Read it and escape into another world, one in which you are never quite the same again.
Margo Lanagan is in a class of her own.