Vampires in the Lemon Grove
StorieseBook - 2013
From the author of the New York Times best seller Swamplandia!—a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—a magical new collection of stories that showcases Karen Russell’s gifts at their inimitable best.
A dejected teenager discovers that the universe is communicating with him through talismanic objects left behind in a seagull’s nest. A community of girls held captive in a silk factory slowly transmute into human silkworms, spinning delicate threads from their own bellies, and escape by seizing the means of production for their own revolutionary ends. A massage therapist discovers she has the power to heal by manipulating the tattoos on a war veteran’s lower torso. When a group of boys stumble upon a mutilated scarecrow bearing an uncanny resemblance to the missing classmate they used to torment, an ordinary tale of high school bullying becomes a sinister fantasy of guilt and atonement. In a family’s disastrous quest for land in the American West, the monster is the human hunger for acquisition, and the victim is all we hold dear. And in the collection’s marvelous title story—an unforgettable parable of addiction and appetite, mortal terror and mortal love—two vampires in a sun-drenched lemon grove try helplessly to slake their thirst for blood.
Karen Russell is one of today’s most celebrated and vital writers—honored in The New Yorker’s list of the twenty best writers under the age of forty, Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists, and the National Book Foundation’s five best writers under the age of thirty-five. Her wondrous new work displays a young writer of superlative originality and invention coming into the full range and scale of her powers.
This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
Baker & Taylor
A new collection of stories by the Pulitzer Prize-finalist author of Swamplandia! features such protagonists as a pair of centuries-old vampires whose relationship is tested by a sudden fear of flying, a dejected teen who communicates with the universe through objects from a seagull nest and a massage therapist who heals a tattooed veteran by manipulating the images on his body. 75,000 first printing.
From the critics
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I am going to admit something you mustn’t tell a soul. I was a *Twilight* addict. And an Anne Rice addict. To be honest, the problem extends to any other night-bumping creature of mystery ever to grace print. As a lit major-turned-librarian, this was always a source of embarrassment to me. Why couldn’t I love something more literary? Why didn’t *War and Peace* keep me up all night like Edward and Bella? Woe and shame, fellow readers. Woe and shame. As a result, I tend to feel personally vindicated whenever a truly literary book comes out that features the fanged, the undead, the bizarre, or the monstrous. Enter Karen Russell’s *Vampires in the Lemon Grove.* This collection of short stories opens with the hauntingly eerie tale which gives the collection its name, a love story of two vampires who learn to survive on juice from the exquisite lemons produced in a particular artisanal Italian grove. Far from being a romantic adventure tale of sparkly vampires who learn to overcome their monstrous natures and live among people, these vampires struggle greatly with their terrible urges. Most unsettlingly, their most terrifying urges seem to come from the human parts of themselves. The confusion between the human and the monstrous continues. As the book progresses, the tales grow darker; by the end of the book the supernatural elements only serve to highlight the weirdness and unspeakable horrors lurking in the human condition. It reminds one that monster’s etymological root comes from a Latin word meaning “to show.” While monsters are often called to service in fiction to illuminate elements of human nature considered unspeakable in polite company, seldom has it been done so elegantly, and so chillingly. Russell’s language is sonorously wrought and full of wry humour – worth reading aloud to someone at bedtime, if you happen to have a connoisseur of the demented willing to listen. *Vampires in the Lemon Grove* is recommended reading to fans of the darker elements of David Sedaris’ work, or to anyone else craving a more literary monster.
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