Along with Kate Forsyth, Margo Lanagan takes the cake as my 2012 Australian Women Writers Challenge ‘discovery’ of the year. It is just so exciting to find two new authors, both female and both Australian, who rock my world.
Sea Hearts is one of my favourite reads for 2012. It is based on the Celtic selkie legend, of seals who shed their coats and become beautiful women (and, on occasion, men). A series of characters with intertwining lives and stories tell the tale of the witch Misskaella, who uses magic and the sea to pour revenge upon the inhabitants of Rollrock Island.
Sea Hearts is salty and bewitching, and I absolutely loved it. Lanagan’s writing is so beautiful that I found myself re-reading particular sentences and paragraphs over and over again, wondering how she could evoke such vivid images and feelings with such simplicity. In a few words Lanagan can paint a character or a setting so clearly that every detail is sharp as a freshly pressed Polaroid. I swear that at times during the reading of this book, I could smell the sea.