Ideas & Inspiration for The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

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From the publisher’s website:

On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives.

The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.

Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.


Title-specific resources for your Book to Art Club

  • Book review for The Brides of Rollrock Island from
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About the suggested projects:

Even though there’s no specific reference to Rollrock Island being located in the region of the North Sea (Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Denmark), legends of selkies come primarily from that part of the world.  I was inspired by the sea fishing community in this book, which led me to focus on ropes, knots, and Celtic knot designs.  Celtic knot designs can be used for a wide variety of crafts (cross-stitching, painting, drawing, etc).  I really enjoyed the physicality of tying rope, though.  Plus, it’s a really useful skill to learn knots and tying!