On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings–and to catch their wives.
The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.
Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.
I’ve always been a sucker for fairy tales. More specifically, mermaids. So when I stumbled across this book, there was no way I could pass it up.
Selkies are mythological creatures from Scottish and Irish mythology — seals who can shed their skin and transform into humans. If their skin is stolen, they are stuck in their human form indefinitely, always searching for their skin and longing for the sea.
The selkies of Rollrock Island are beautiful women, drawn from their seal forms by the witch Misskaella and married off to the men of the island. The desire for stunning, docile seal-wives drives all the human women from the island and isolates Rollrock from the rest of the world.
I thought this book was amazing. The prose was lyrical and haunting, totally enveloping me in the isolation and dreariness of the small island. It did start out slow, and I found myself wondering when things would actually pick up/when would I actually figure out what was happening, but the slow pace really did work for this story. All of a sudden I was drowning in it and I just couldn’t read fast enough.
One of my favorite aspects of this book was that there is no clear-cut “right” or “wrong”. I find that a lot of YA novels are very black-and-white, that this person is nothing but a total villain and that person is the epitome of a hero. And it’s frustrating, because it’s just so unrealistic. Brides was great in that there is nowhere to lay 100% of the blame. Yes, Misskaella creates the seal-wives, but she’s a product of her environment, not totally evil. The story is told in seven POVs (the multiple POVs aren’t as complicated or confusing as it sounds) and hearing from the different perspectives is really refreshing.
With the dark tone and heavy subject matter, it’s really surprising to me that The Brides of Rollrock Island is actually a young adult book. Either way, I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a dark fairy tale.
After a pretty eventful/stressful semester, I can proudly say that I am now officially employed! I will be graduating from UF on Saturday and after winter break, I’ll be moving to Tampa and starting my new job. I’ll be working as an economic analyst for a consulting firm and I could not be more excited.
I’ve actually only been to Tampa once — for my interview! (I have been to St. Pete for a wedding and I’ve had an overnight stay in one of the many suburbs there, but those don’t count.) So lots of big changes are coming and I’m both nervous and pumped!
So, it’s been a while. This semester has been crazy and I’ve definitely put DB on the backburner, even moreso than usual.
But anyway — DB is now featuring a new layout! I thought the gold glitter/black/white combo would be a great setup for a holiday-ish themed layout. Not toooo in your face, right? I’m pretty psyched (okay, SUPER PSYCHED!) about how the header turned out. Swirls and glitter. Yeah. I’m in love.
I was actually inspired by an amazing nail polish my roommate has — West End Wonderland by butter LONDON. It’s by far the best fine gold glitter polish I’ve come across, ad definitely on my Christmas list.
This new layout is still kind of under construction, but hopefully I’ll have everything fully up soon!