"a wicked, thoroughly unpredictable romp"
Angela Pendergast, escapee from the Australian bush, grew up with the smell of hot mutton fat in her hair, the thought of her teeth crunching a cold Tim Tam chocolate biscuit-the height of decadent frivolity.
Now, though her tastes have grown and she knows absolutely what she wants, her life is embarrassingly stuck. So when the Devil drops into her bedroom in her sharehouse in inner-city Sydney with a contract in hand, she signs. He's got only a Hell's week to fulfil his side, but in the meantime he must chaperone her ... or is it the other way around?
Shortlisted for the William L. Crawford Award.
A Locus Recommended Reading List selection.
Cover by Anna Tambour
"I hate giving away the story, but allow me to say that this novel is not going where you think it is....teaming with genuine wit and humor... excellent writing...One thing I’m sure of is that it should be required reading for all those who go into writing fiction with dreams of great remuneration and fame. If it were, Tambour would already be both wealthy and famous."
–Jeffrey Ford, 14theditch
"...a wicked, thoroughly unpredictable romp . . . Spotted Lily might just be a particularly inventive comic take on wish-fulfillment, but soon enough it strays far from the beaten path...a dizzying but delightful journey through old myths and modern chaos, turning Faust and Pygmalion on their ear as it cuts its own path toward something like self-knowledge."
–Faren Miller, Locus
"The main thing is, the novel is real."
"One of the things I liked most about this book was that it was so difficult to tell where it was going...the book is so well written that for a lot of the time you don’t actually notice that it has a supernatural element to it."
–Cheryl Morgan, Emerald City
"Funny, believable, refreshingly different . . . Perhaps most of all it is a very funny book, without being what you would call a comedy. . . Anna Tambour, on the strength of Spotted Lily and her earlier story collection, Monterra's Deliciosa & Other Tales &, is one of the most delightful, original, and varied new writers on hand. "
–Rich Horton, SF Site
"Spotted Lily is a remarkable novel of dark satire. It is brutal and terrifying. It is painful and beautiful. It is profound and I think it has the makings of a classic. This is, to me, a work of literary significance, far transcending the boundaries of genre of the fantastic."
–Vera Nazarian, Norilana
And more from reviews posted on Amazon:
"Spotted Lily by Anna Tambour is not the sort of book I would normally choose to read. For starters it contains two of my pet literary hates: deals with the devil and writers grappling with their writing... but it was a gift from a friend and so I surpressed the urge to roll my eyes and I did read it. Boy, am I ever glad that I did. I read a lot of stories these days and, more often than not, I've forgotten 90% of what I've just read before I've even put a book down and picked up the next one. Not this book. Spotted Lily is one of those tales crammed with tiny little details that will rattle around in my head for the rest of my life. This book is hysterically funny in some places, revolting in others. Truer to life than not, overall, despite its supernatural content."
"If you're tired of reading fantasies that all seem to use the same few tired old themes, plot structures and language,try SPOTTED LILY. Its initially commonplace story of making a bargain with the devil quickly dives off in unexpected directions,becoming by turns a funny, intriguing and sometimes shocking tale told in brilliantly fluid and original language. Anna Tambour's way of seeing is unique,her storytelling power able to keep one turning the pages even as her protagonist, Angela, is revealed as an increasingly repulsive person.I loved the constant surprises thrown up by the twists and turns of the narrative.The sensuality.The ending–distressing and,again, not predictable. I'ts not a book to be read in a rush, the language deserves to be savoured and the conclusion mulled over at leisure."
–Lewis P. Morley
"Reading SPOTTED LILY is like coming across a new species of creature which is immediately notable for its many unusual features. It has a weird manoeuvrability that occasionally shocks with its sudden bouts of unsightliness. But it is also perfectly adaptable to the terrain it explores, showing a startling tendency to slither and dash and slither again with an impressive elasticity and ease of pace that is wholly mesmerising. It is a provocative creature, too, and, for this reason, is liable to provoke different responses in different readers. With its sinuous prose, delicious grossness, furious dialogues and unpredictable twists and turns, it is a lesson in extremity. But it is equally, also, a novel that explores the mundane terrors and pleasures of life to tremendous effect. It is, too, full of a gritty poignancy that tugs at the heart strings with rugged force rather than sentimentality; and its tendency to make the normal seem bizarre and the bizarre seem normal is, by now, a trademark feature of Tambour's work. This is a book for those who like their details raw and fiction raucous..."