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Spotted Lily Paperback – August 19, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Publisher
Top Customer Reviews
Herein lies a peculiar, resonant, and bitter combination of Bulgakov's THE MASTER AND MARGARITA, a very adult version of Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS, and frequent touches of Kafka and Marquez's ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE.
The satire is dark and biting and yet it is the pathos of Angela that got to me, her humanism and vulnerabily and the subtle nature of the fragile self and self-image hell (on earth!) she wallows in -- it broke my heart.
The novel is steeped in a succession of naturalist and surreal details -- sensual, beautiful/ugly dissonance and erotic fetish, frequently shocking and supremely memorable. There is loss of dignity and the redemption of self, over and over; a dance.
And the Australian heart is there -- I who have never been to Australia feel that now I have; the Bush is IMPRINTED upon me. Her childhood home, the secret place her father wept... flowers placed in ordinary jam jars to bloom in small private wonder.
The journey of Angela is ultimately an amazing piece of pshychological portraiture. And her deal with the Devil is merely the tip of the iceberg.
This is, to me, a work of literary significance, far transcending the boundaries of genre of the fantastic -- Anna Tambour makes an amazing novel debut.
Angela Pendergast is a 30ish Australian woman who has moved from her family's ranch in the bush to the big city. She wants to be a Writer, specifically a Bestselling Writer, but she finds it hard to actually get down to writing her Novel. Put simply, she wants to Have Written, not to write. She has a part-time job at a New Age bookstore, and she lives in a house with a few roommates.
Then the Devil shows up. He wants to be the new roomer -- but more than that, he offers her a deal. He'll write her Novel, a guaranteed bestseller. In exchange, of course, for the usual.
So far, so relatively normal. But both Angela and the Devil, whom she names Brett Hartshorn, aren't quite such simple characters. Soon Brett is immersing himself in human literature, trying to decide what makes a bestseller. (Before too long he lights on Barbara Cartland, and who can argue?) Meanwhile Angela is being remade as a glamorous Author, which amounts to accepting her curviness as loveliness, and to abandoning herself to the ministrations of a couple of fashion advisers. Which is a bad description of that portion of the book -- the "advisers" aren't conventionally portrayed at all, and Angela (now called Desir?e Lily) is quite a different "Author".
But the book has further twists and turns.Read more ›
It is a provocative creature, too, and, for this reason, is liable to provoke different responses in different readers. With its sinuous prose, delicious grossness, furious dialogues and unpredictable twists and turns, it is a lesson in extremity. But it is equally, also, a novel that explores the mundane terrors and pleasures of life to tremendous effect.
It is, too, full of a gritty poignancy that tugs at the heart strings with rugged force rather than sentimentality; and its tendency to make the normal seem bizarre and the bizarre seem normal is, by now, a trademark feature of Tambour's work.
This is a book for those who like their details raw and fiction raucous; who are less enthused by the introspective meanderings of more evenly wrought character-based plots -- who prefer, instead, the charm of being suspended in a flux of ambiguities that are the residue of experiences not easily defined.
Forget, also, any hollow reproduction of the Faustian motif, with its moral dialectic of good versus evil, greed versus righteousness, covetousness versus humility. There is no coming to terms in a religious sense but a full concentration on the virtues of the material as opposed to the moral universe; and the consequences are as fascinating as they are extremely funny.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A well written character study taking you to the often uncomfortable depths of a self-centered personality who reaches new heights--and depths--when she befriends the Devil. Read morePublished 12 months ago by damiro
This book is beautifully printed and bound; the cover design leaves nothing to be desired. I have nothing else good to say about it.Published on March 28, 2013 by alexis du terrail
If you're tired of reading fantasies that all seem to use the same few tired old themes, plot structures and language,try SPOTTED LILY. Read morePublished on November 27, 2010 by Lewis P. Morley