cover image Yellowcake


Margo Lanagan. Knopf, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-375-86920-4

Lanagan follows White Time, Black Juice, and Red Spikes with a fourth short story collection, featuring 10 singular tales, nearly all of which were previously published in the U.S. and abroad. She opens with the visceral “The Point of Roses,” in which a boy’s psychic ability to guess what something is—a rose, an ashtray, a toy—has astonishing consequences: “A sweet-scented shock hit Billy, a velvety punch. Down the slope he tumbled, alone in a storm of blooms.” In “An Honest Day’s Work,” a disabled boy gets a chance to be useful when the local equivalent of shipbreakers bring an aircraft carrier–sized alien down out of the “ether” to be stripped for food and spare parts. “Night of the Firstlings” is an eccentric and at times terrifying retelling of the plagues of Egypt, while the collection’s new story, “Into the Clouds on High,” recalls the author’s recent The Brides of Rollrock Island, with a woman caught between the pull of her family and that of her supernatural nature. Haunt-ing, gorgeous, and sometimes painful, Lanagan’s stories are unlike anything else in fantasy literature. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (May)