Margo Lanagan is an award winning Australian writer. This book was my introduction to her writing, and it certainly won’t be my last, as I intend to find out more.
White Time was originally published ten years ago, and I’ve read reviews which feel that it’s not as polished as her later stories. This may be so, and makes me even more interested in her other books, but what this collection shows is a vivid imagination and an adaptable writing style.
This is a YA collection, and whilst some do have that feel to them, some would very much appeal to all ages. However, as these are short stories, there is no time to slowly introduce worlds, characters or concepts – Margo invites you to walk straight into her worlds, and to understand. This sometimes means that the first few pages can seem a little confusing, but if you keep going, it all seems to make perfect sense.
The title story is a fascinating sci-fi snippet, which could make a great novel if expanded on. It concerns pockets under the earth where people from many places can get trapped whilst time travelling, with Sheneel being a student on work experience, finding about those who help them to move on.
Some tales are set in the future, some the past, and many is a rather altered present. The selection ranges from the rather light hearted Midsummer Mission, where tiny creatures swear their way through a mission to bring together a teen romance; through The Queen’s Notice, set in an ant colony; to The Night Lily and Wealth, tales which will leave you sad and thoughtful.
For those who like something a little different, especially in the short story format, this is certainly a book to try. It won’t appeal to all, but for those whom it does, you will find yourself looking forward to a re-read.