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Margo Lanagan's Sea Hearts or, in the UK, The Brides of Rollrock Island. I have no idea why they changed the name for the UK. I much prefer the other title if for no other reason than someone in the marketing department never thought to actually read the UK title aloud. Or if they did, they are possessed of perfectly rolled French rrrrrs. When I try to say it I have a "Woy" Jenkins moment.

Onto the book: The island in question is, by the time the book opens, all male. There are brides on the island but there is something strange about them. The only true woman on the island is elderly and embittered. The boys of the island are a little odd but they love their Mams: they would do anything to make their Mams happy.

This is an island where men really got what they wished for, perfect, obedient, submissive wives. The unravelling consequences of this classic fairy tale structure is harsh and bitter, but this is a tale told with the gentleness of "Singing My Sister Down".
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Not a good year for reading in the sense of new books, but overall these have been my favourites:


Two dead obvious that everyone is listing:

1. China Mieville's Embassytown: I really like alien contact novels and there aren't that many at the moment. I also like linguistics books (Delany's Babel 17 and Elgin's Native Tongue are long term favourites. There was never really any doubt I'd love this.

2. Jo Walton's Among Others: fairies, books, teenage angst, immediate sense of recognition all written with wit and elegance. This will be my first nomination for the Hugo this year.


Two non-fiction books only one other person here will have heard of:
1 and 2. Geoffrey Trease, Portrait of a Cavalier, and Lucy Worsley, Cavalier, both about William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, friend of Charles II, and husband of Margaret Cavendish.


Two early children's fantasy books I'd like more people to read:
1. Jean Ingelow, Mopsa the Fairy, 1869
2. Boumphrey, E. The Hoojibahs, 1929
Both of these are original, unexpected and deserve more attention.

Three Canadian children's fantasies I loved.
1. Donn Kushner's A Book Dragon, 1987 tho E is correct to point out that Serpent Grimsby cannot possibly be in the south.
2. Barbara Haworth-Attard, Haunted, 2009, a very unusual YA ghost story set in 1920s rural Canada.
3. Paul Yee, The Bone Collector's Son, 2003, set in turn of the century Vancouver China town, also a ghost story.

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