Book Review: “Fables Queer and Familiar” by Mag Merrilees

Fables Queer and Familiar by Margaret Merrilees


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are not too many books describing the exploits of two lesbian grannies. Adelaide author Margaret Merrilees gives us 52 ‘fables’, one for each week of the year; snapshots of life in this lesbian granny household and their extended family and friends.

You might think Merrilees will only find a niche market for this book. You’d be wrong. This book should be widely read and deserves to be because it is enjoyable, moving, witty and downright funny. The back cover blurb describes the stories as ‘wry, affectionate’, and they are. But there are also many laugh-out-loud moments in the book. Each reader will take something different from the tales, and may identify particularly with one or more of the characters. I found the escapades of the grandson, James, particularly funny. Most of my outbursts of laughter were in response to his thought processes and his observations of the adults around him.

Merrilees has a lovely writing style. The fables are beautiful observations of the the lives of the grannies. To say it is an ‘easy read’ would be to devalue it. It is certainly an enjoyable read – I looked forward to each new instalment. It is also a fascinating reflection on the lives of two activists, reaching their later years, looking back on their younger selves and dealing with the challenges of children, grand children, aging parents and their own long-term relationship.

Read it. You will laugh out loud too.

Margaret Merrilees website is at:

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: “Fables Queer and Familiar” by Mag Merrilees

    • Don’t be put off Lisa. I’m reading it now – it reads pretty much as a novel – in fact, I think its title, “Fables”, does it a dis-service. IMHO a better title would be “Fable” – singular.

      From the title, I expected it to be a collection, of amusing anecdotes sort of thing (it wasn’t till just a few minutes ago I found out how it started life as a serial radio broadcast). That expectation made me less inclined to read it. But in fact it’s more like a genuine novel, still amusing but also satisfying – a meal rather than just horses doovers with drinks.

      Now that I know its origins, I’m reminded of Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the city”. If you liked that you’ll like this too. Cheers, Russ

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