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
Locus Recommended Reading List selection
"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."
– Jeff VanderMeer
"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
This shocker from Australian author Tambour (Monterra's Deliciosa & Other Tales &) about a 20ish down under Faustess who sells her soul to the devil (aka Brett Hartshorn) for lasting literary fame and fortune may well strike some like a bracing tonic and others like something a lot less palatable. Having fled her Wooronga bush station home, Angela Pendergast takes her B.A. and M.A. in English at Sydney University and predictably goes walkabout, works at a bank and for five years pours out her dreams of authorship in journals until Brett appears during what he calls "pledge week." Her ensuing adventures with her behorned and betailed Byronic companion take them to Prague, Bali, New York and finally back to Wooronga. Tambour's racy, florid style achieves some witty one-liners, like Hartshorn's breakfast of heart tartare au jus Masai, but Angela's devil-sent humiliations too often verge on the off-puttingly scatological. Angela's loosely connected "adventures" also feel contrived until she returns to the bush she realizes too late she loves, whimpering over the death of her dreams.