Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2005.
Anon gets teased mercilessly at school. Someone has been peeing on the toilets at school and he gets blamed for it. He’s just a daydreaming kid, lost in his own world, and the teasing really doesn’t bother him. He hardly notices it. He’s more caught up in his daydreaming world about a girl named Sara that he doesn’t know (but imagines in great detail) and about his father (who does not live with him). Zarah has more serious trouble. Her boyfriend, Victor, is turning out to be trouble, and a crisis. He spends a lot of time thinking about death and life. When Nils finds Zarah, his life takes on new meaning. In watching Anon be so lost in his daydreams, Nils rediscovers the happiness he knew as a daydreaming kid.
As part of a public execution, a young boy forlornly helps to sing his sister down…A servant learns about grace and loyalty from a mistress who would rather dance with Gypsies than sit on her throne…A terrifying encounter with a demonic angel gives a young man the strength he needs to break free of his oppressor…On a bleak and dreary afternoon a gleeful shooting spree leads to tragedy for a desperate clown unable to escape his fate.
In each of Margo Lanagan’s ten extraordinary stories, human frailty is put to the test by the implacable forces of dark and light, man and beast. Black Juice offers glimpses into familiar, shadowy worlds that push the boundaries of the spirit and leave the mind haunted with the knowledge that black juice runs through us all.
Seventeen-year-old Phil has felt like an outsider as long as he can remember. All Phil has ever known about his father is that he was Number Three on his mother’s long list—third in a series of affairs that have set Phil’s family even further apart from the critical townspeople across the river. As for his own sexuality, Phil doesn’t care what the neighbors will think; he’s just waiting for the right guy to come along.
But Phil can’t remain a bystander forever. Not when he’s surrounded by his mother, Glass, who lives by her own rules and urges Phil to be equally strong; his sister, Dianne, who is abrupt and willful, with secrets to share; his uncle Gable, a restless mariner, defined by his scars; his best friend, Kat, who is generous but possessive. And finally, there is distant Nicholas, with whom Phil falls overwhelmingly in love—until he faces the ultimate betrayal and must finally find his worth…and place in the world.
Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger….
Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?
Miles “Pudge” Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.”
Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.