A threshold where I still exist.”, Locus Award Nominee for Best Collection (2014). This collection sees Karen Russell shift the balance between concept and narrative. Not the best collection of short stories I've ever read, but Karen Russell chooses such imaginative and unusual subject matter that the stories are quickly engaging. Almost as sprightly as Murakami and sometimes leaning toward the flavor of Annie Proulx’s gothic tall tales and encounters with supernatural in her collections on the American West. For example, the title story is superficially about a pair of vampires learning that they can slake their thirsts on lemons from a particular grove in an Italian monastery, but it's much more about the. Open minded a bit, gave it a chnace and was presently surprised. In 2009 the National Book Foundation named Russell a 5 under 35 honoree. "[12], In 2010 Russell spent time as a visiting writer at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Be careful it's not upside down. For example, the title story is superficially about a pair of vampires learning that they can slake their thirsts on lemons from a particular grove in an Italian monastery, but it's much more about the heartbreaking dissolution of a marriage, about the things that ease our pain until they don't anymore, about finding someone who can tell us the truth about who we are and then wondering if we only love each other for lack of better options. And, if your thing is "writers' writers," you've come to the right lemon grove. [5], Russell's second book and first novel, Swamplandia!, about a family of alligator wrestlers and their shabby amusement park in the Everglades was long-listed for the 2011 Orange Prize. fan of Karen Russell. She writes strong women and young people and skewers traditions and politics effortlessly. [11] "Reeling for the Empire" won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novelette of 2012. I think more than anything and more than any recent books I've read, this one made me want to meet and interview the author. Karen Russell is clearly a very gifted writer and several of these short stories approach masterful, but here is the problem - I don't think she knows how to finish a story. Wavered between 3 and 4, 3 because some of them were quite a bit out there and 4 because the writing is spectacular. February 12th 2013 Russell does a great job of carrying the ball downfield but then stops short of the goal line. Karen Russell is wonderfully weird. She's got the relentless line-by-line dazzle of an MFA student who actually is worth the tuition but, Karen Russell: still best taken in short doses. Short stories (well, ANY story actually), is supposed to have a beginning, middle and end; the end should be some resolution to the conflict or antagonism that was created in the first two sections. The pieces in this book have a wide variety of geographical settings and literary styles (humor to horror), so every reader should find something appealing here, and the whole collection is united by a strong and thoughtful prose. You don't learn, you admire, which is enough to make me want to read her next book. PROVING UP was, for me, the worst offender in terms of lack of conclusion, however THE SEAGULL ARMY DESCENDS ON STRONG BEACH, 1979 was, after a great emotional investment in the wonderfully drawn characters, another tremendous disappointment, as was the title story, VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE, which also suffered from being terminally precious and somewhat cloying. #fuckyeahKarenRussell. Like I said, SWAMPLANDIA was a real thrill, like getting my brain stoned and making it take a long hot shower, with sensual curls of phrase and a bottomless tank of 'em at that, and the calm assured trust that this, this author, she will control and direct you toward something that makes this book earn its place on your shelf and in your time. And as long as she doesn't end up advancing up her own ass like so many enthusiastically feted writers, I'll read anything she makes, and then go jogging so the jealousy can disperse. Karen Russell seems to have jumped out of nowhere onto the mainstream literary scene with the publication of her first collection of stories. This is an uneven collection of stories ranging from eerily brilliant to downright silly. Readers of short fiction will quickly grow weary of such intellectual hide-and-seek. Although the conclusion was not entirely satisfying, it seemed to fit the otherworldly atmosphere of the story, as did THE BARN AT THE END OF OUR TERM, in which dead US Presidents are reincarnated as horses in a stable and converse and interact as equine versions of themselves - bizarre and trippy and not altogether unsatisfactory, although disappointing. This collection sees Karen Russell shift the balance between concept and narrative. [8] Swamplandia! I would like to get a glimpse into this author's mind, must be such an interesting place. but i'm greedy, and sometimes 8 is not enough. That’s because Russell is all about what's human, even if the human is sometimes a scarecrow or a silkworm/woman or a vampire. “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” is a collection of eight contemporary and historic short stories by Karen Russell. Loved the first story, which is very unusual for me because even the word vampire will set me running, but in this case it did not. I didn't know it at the time. Her writing is beautiful. They are titled The Lemon Grove Kids, The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Green Grasshopper and the Vampire Lady from Outer Space, and The Lemon Grove Kids Go Hollywood!. I was delighted by this collection of weird and wonderful stories. I'm too old for the trappings of fandom.). Over hyped, over rated, did not live up to my expectations. What I really admire about Russell is her originality and lack of interest in writing for anyone other than herself. For theatrical showings, the movie was interrupted by the mummy from the movie going into the audience. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published Wavered between 3 and 4, 3 because some of them were quite a bit out there and 4 because the writin. I heartily recommend this book for anyone interested in thought-provoking short stories. She was also the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" in 2013. in Spanish from Northwestern University in 2003. ", This brief collection of imaginative short stories packs some serious emotional punches. [10] She is the recipient of the Mary Ellen von der Heyden Berlin Prize and was awarded a fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin for Spring 2012. Open minded a bit, gave it a chnace and was presently surprised. I love these kinds of settings and she i. But this is her 3rd book. I have a confession to make. Refresh and try again. It's a beautiful and painful story, and almost every other story is equally as powerful. Appreciating this book was a slow process for me. The stories that most stayed with me (and I'd give a 5 to), as with Swamplandia!, take you to a landscape you are unfamiliar with: the dust bowl in the Midwest, the lemon groves of Italy, the landscape of Afghanistan through the tattoo on a soldier's back. Must be the lemons. I'm not ordinarily a fan of the short story form but having read the first 2 stories in this collection, I am making an exception. '5 Under 35' Fiction Selections For 2009". It was never possible to just fly over the language as it was an essential part of the reading.