Tender Morsels

by Margo Lanagan

Basic Summary: Once upon a time, there was a girl, Liga, who only got to be a girl for a short while. In exchange for the terrible horrors forced upon her, Liga gained access to her own version of heaven for herself and her two girls. A safe world, far from the harm she had grown accustomed to in her youth. While there she was able to raise her two girls happily, develop skills and travel without fear. But Liga’s perfect life becomes startled by Bears that seem almost human and daughters that have dreams of their own.

Kell’s Chatty Review: This book had depth. I cannot put it in any other way. It’s slow to develop and remarkably dark, but Lanagan explores the ideas of relationships (in a ridiculously heartrending way) and ideals in a way that has you thinking about its suggestions for days.

This book is not meant for everyone.: It was not easy to get through, due to both the dialect, plot development and the dark scenes of the book. I, personally, had to fight my way through it. And honestly, at page 350 (my copy was 436 pages) I still wasn’t sure if I actually liked the book. But when I finished it, I knew I wanted to own it. The ending was bittersweet, but rewarding for those who stick with the characters and story and understand what Lanagan is trying to accomplish with this book. I’m sure I don’t understand most of it, but I glimpsed enough to realize it will be even better after a second reading, or three or ten.

Okay, I admit it: I almost cried twice at the end. Read it and see if you can guess which parts made me cry and why. 🙂

On Snow-White and Rose-Red: This story is also a retelling of a Grimm’s Brother fairy tales. Don’t be fooled by Snow White’s feature in the title, this isn’t the story Disney based its character on (that would be Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs. Same name, different story. Not sure it’s the same character.). Even so, as I was reading Tender Morsels, I could not see how it related to a fairy tale (that I had never read). So I went to my trusty anthology of Grimm’s fairy tales and read it and was amazed by the similarities. Lanagan flushed out the story at parts that made it seem natural to the fairy tale. Almost like the Grimm version is the tale that was left after Lanagan’s had been handed down orally through generations. (I’m positively gushing at this point.)

Most of all, I was thrilled my copy of the fairy tale had the same translation Lanagan used to draw the title from. I got a chill when I saw the words “tender morsels” used by the translator.

What this book taught me about life: That I am ridiculously lucky.

What I most wanted to do after reading this book: Read the Grimm version (check). And go out and tame wild animals to my beck and call (not likely).

Re-Readability Rating: 3. It’s very heavy, dark material, so it’s not something I’d seek out normally. But I do already feel the draw to re-read it, so for me 3 is a pretty sure bet. Like I said, though, this book is not meant for everyone, so others may rate it higher or lower.

Where this book came from: The library!

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3 responses to “Tender Morsels

  1. I loved this book, in a year of highlights, it’s one of my favorites, alongside Songs of Innoncence and Experience and If Not, Winter, and that’s weird for me, because I don’t read a lot of ‘new stuff’. I’m glad you liked it too :). I cried at the very end, about what happens with getting married (trying not to give spoilers…), and I cried about the fellow who missed the bear (again… I know that’s vague). Both of those parts were big weepers for me :).

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