The Brides of Rollrock Island

The Brides of Rollrock IslandThe Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ah, you can always count on the good, trusty saying “It’s not you, it’s me” to get yourself out of difficult situations when you are probably* to blame. So I’m gonna say it-

Dear The Brides of Rollrock Island, you are a wonderful, beautiful book but unfortunately, it seems we have grown apart or rather we were not together to begin with and you must realize, it’s all my fault for not putting in much effort. Go on, fly my lovely brides, soar. You’ll find many a readers much more deserving of your pages than this silly old lass here.

There is nothing wrong with this book, per se, except that it took me a long while to fish out the story. Someways into the novel, I started scrutinizing every word and every sentence and every page looking for the hidden story. But I was going about it the wrong way, it seems. For the story in this book spans generations and lifetimes and betrayals and ridicules, albeit it centers around one woman, who may or may not always be in the limelight.

It starts with her, and it moves onto how she affects families and their children and their children and further without even lifting a hand. And the book ends with this woman herself. Lives of different peoples are played out, puppeteer-ed and destroyed. And the refreshing take on mermaids, dayuuum, Lanagan. It was good. No sharp claws, no shell-covered-modesty, no alluring songs to trap you and no bloody FINS! Because these aren’t actually mermaids as we know them, but seal-maids.

No, not really. These are enchanting women, with dark, flowing hair, light eyes.
Graceful as a stork and lithe as a pard, with or not a tale.
Gentle as a dove and sad as a forest in the winter gale.

I can actually pinpoint the line when my interest aroused in this book. The catalyst was a wife’s death, as it always is. And the only other thing that kept me awake before this particular occurrence was the beautiful prose. It felt like someone(preferably, a young female) telling me a fairy-tale in a Scottish accent(because those are the best) along some long-forgotten coast, under a green awning, because it’s drizzling in the dusky sky, and the smell of the damp dirt fusing with woodsmoke to cloak our minds and drowse our eyes.

The Brides of Rollrock Island, if Rollrock Island were real, would have felt like a compilation of memoirs. I would recommend this book to all those who are not future-me, because while I wouldn’t wanna go back for a re-read, I also don’t want to discourage my past-self from reading this book.

Mushu

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4 thoughts on “The Brides of Rollrock Island

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