Friday, August 9, 2013

White Time

Margo Lanagan
Reviewed by: Nancy 
4.5 out of 5 stars


Lose yourself in White Time

White Time is mind time, body time, soul time, heart time.

White Time is other worlds, other dimensions, other states of being.

White Time is out of time.

In this transcendent collection of short stories, Margo Lanagan, author of the award-winning story collection "Black Juice," deftly navigates a new set of worlds in which the boundaries between reality and possibility are paper-thin . . . and sometimes disappear altogether.

My Review

Anthologies are fun to read because they feature a wide variety of authors and styles. With their hit-or-miss qualities, however, they can also end up being disappointing. If I run into a real dud of a story, do I set the book aside and pick up something else or skip the story and continue reading? I have several partially read anthologies just because that dud was stuck somewhere in the middle.

Short stories by one author are a little different. At least I can expect more consistency in quality. With Margo Lanagan, especially, I know I won’t get a dud. This is the third collection of stories I’ve read by her and all three times I’ve read the stories consecutively with hardly a break in between. Her writing is exquisite, rich and lovely, and the stories imaginative, moving and unsettling. I hope she plans to write forever!

White Time
One of my favorite stories in this collection is the very first one, White Time. Sheneel gets a taste of work experience, called “occupation tasting”. Her friends get to do something fun and undemanding while Sheneel gets the more fascinating job of redirecting entities that got caught in “white time” that netherworld between time periods. It’s work, so there are boring duties like number crunching and there are hazards involved. A haunting, thought-provoking story. 5/5

An engrossing little story that explores family relationships, death and grieving. 4/5

Tell and Kiss
In Evan’s world it is not food that makes you gain weight, it is all the thoughts and feelings kept inside. Now at the end of his program, he has reached his goal weight. Will he be able to keep it off? 5/5

The Queen’s Notice
A first-hand perspective of life in an ant colony. Will the queen get her mate? 3/5

Big Rage
Billie is married to a total jerk who belittles her constantly and has to have the last word. While relaxing at the beach, she meets a wounded man in armor who is badly in need of help and in turn, he helps her unleash her pent-up emotions and anger toward her husband.
I love stories about powerful women! 5/5

“What comes out of me is fire. A roar of fire, a blast of fire, a curling, teeming, many-coloured chameleon-tongue of fire. It curves up the dune-side and scorches the scrub at the top. James’s spread hand, with the wedding ring on it, sticks out like a drowning man’s. He falls, he claws himself upright, he flounders flaming up over the dune-top and out of sight.”


The Night Lily
A sad and moving story which shows the effects of war on a group of children. 4/5

The Boy Who Didn’t Yearn
Tess Maxwell can read people. Their weaknesses, pain, emotions that are so apparent to her are not to others. Then she meets Keenoy Ribson, seemingly so happy with his life. How does he do it? 5/5

Midsummer Mission
Cute, funny and full of love. 3/5

Welcome Blue
A quiet story about a girl who gets a job snipping flowers to welcome the arrival of a special visitor. Little about the visitor, but more about the town’s varying reactions. 4/5

In this class-oriented world, it’s not about how much money you have, but how luxurious your hair is. Probably one of the most accessible stories in this collection, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. 5/5

Also posted at Goodreads.

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