Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vampires In the Lemon Grove in the Lemon Grove
By Karen Russell
Knopf. 2013. 256 pgs. Short Stories

I am a big fan of Karen Russell (St. Lucy's School for Girls Raised by Wolves, and Swamplandia!), and her third book  is another stunning collection of short stories that did not disappoint.

 Russell's style pulls from magical realism and southern gothic tones with fantastical elements that weave together to create shockingly believable worlds that strike at the very core of human experience. In these stories the theme of metamorphosis carries through as young girls in Japan morph into silk worms, a bullied epileptic boy transforms into a scarecrow, ancient Italians emerge as lemon sucking vampires, drought riddled cropland in Nebraska starts growing the bones of those who died for the land, and a traumatic memory of an Iraq War veteran transfers to his massage therapist. These are stories that will flood your imagination with both tender and haunting images that are hard to shake. ZB

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