Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: “Ferragost” and “Molasses”

It should come as no surprise to you by this point how obsessed I am with Melina Marchetta. And with her Lumatere Chronicles. So when I found out that she wrote a short story as part of the Lumartere Chronicles, taking place between the second and third books, I was a woman on a mission tracking it down. I found it in Review of Australian Fiction, which does short stories by Australian authors. And when I found out that the other author in this volume was Kirsty Eagar (“Raw Blue”), there was no stopping me from reading it, even though it meant hunching over my computer to read the online edition.

“Ferragost” is Marchetta’s story. Being written by Marchetta, it was of course wonderful. I struggled with it a little initially, just because it’s a short story and thus didn’t have the depth and intensity that I’m used to in her work. But once I got over that, I came to like the story on its own merits. It’s about Lady Celie, who we meet in the first two books but who doesn’t get that much page time there. In this story, she’s off on a Belagonian island trying to solve a murder mystery. Through most of the book I was worried that the solution to the mystery would prove too simplistic, but I should never have let my trust in Marchetta waver. She carried it off brilliantly. And the prickly relationship between Celie and Banyon has me desperate for the third book in the series to come out. I’m dying to see the resolution of their relationship.

Kirsty Eagar’s story is called “Molasses.” It’s about a teenager named Amelia, whose crappy home life is finally reaching the breaking point. It was written in that way I became familiar with in “Raw Blue”—sparse but with a power that goes straight to your gut; heartbreaking but with an underlying sense of hope and victory. It was really well done and felt complete despite being a short 68 pages.

Overall, a great collection of stories that showcases two very talented Aussie authors. If you’d like to read them, you can purchase the collection here.

"Ferragost" rating: 4 / 5
"Molasses" rating: 4 / 5

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