Author: Margo Lanagan
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Goodreads||The Book Depository
On remote Rollrock Island, men make their living--and fetch their wives--from the sea.
The Witch Misskaella knows how to find the girl at the heart of a seal. She'll coax a beauty from the beast for any man, for a price. And what man wouldn't want a sea-wife, to and to hold, and to keep by his side forever?
But though he may tell himself that he is the master, one look in his new bride's eyes will transform him just as much as it changes her. Both will be ensnared--and the witch will look on, laughing.
In this magical, seaswept novel, Margo Lanagan tells an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also of unspoken love.
After that, though, everything proceeded perfectly! Margo really knows how to write a mysterious story, and her writing was fabulous even in the beginning! It might be the only thing that kept me reading for so long-- which I'm really happy about, because when it's all said and done I really liked this one.
It had heartbreak. It had intrigue. But most of all? It had an ugly old witch, who's the center of all the stories. And yes, I know that it's stereotypical to have an ugly witch. But it's also stereotypical to have a beautiful witch, so where do you wanna go with this? I thought as much.
Anywho, we have an ugly witch, and her name is Misskaella. Honestly, Misskaella actually surprised me. She's a total contradiction. In the beginning, I truly thought that she was just cruelly picked upon. She was so unselfish in taking care of both of her sick parents, and she just took all of her sisters' cruelty. I don't think that she would've turned out the way she had if it wasn't for all of this.
She became something strange-- and like I said, a total contradiction. In the end, I was left confused at how she had truly gotten there. How she truly became the seal witch. I mean, I think I get it, but the mysterious element of how and why isn't really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how she inherited it.
The Island of Rollrock is a strange place, I'll give it that. But it was also magical and interesting and I never ever wanted to leave once I had gotten there. I never wanted to leave the mystical island, full of the women that came from the sea and their sons. But they have no daughters. Because the sea has reclaimed every last one of them-- how awesome is that?
I love the idea of a person that can emerge from a seal skin, or essentially, the sea. Like I said before, all of the stories included Misskaella, the seal witch. One memorable bit was even told by her! I loved the way that all of the stories came together, and how they were all essentially connected. The apprentice of Misskaella. A father and son who were involved in the seal-wives. A grandmother jilted by her husband and his seal, along with her grandaughter who becomes a part of that world soon. All so beautifully connected. *sigh*
All in all, I really enjoyed The Brides of Rollrock Island. It was enchanting and beautiful and so full of crushed spirits and broken hearts that I couldn't help but love it for what it was. A gorgeously written book.
All the years to come crowded into that time, and I lived them, long and bitter and empty of him. ~ Pg. 76