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St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves Paperback – 3 May 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701181184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701181185
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,424,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'...strongly reminiscent of Angela Carter but wonderfully
confident and refreshing in its own right' -- Guardian - Rev'd Catherine Taylor

'A refreshingly surreal vision of small-town life ... Russell is
an intuitive writer with a gift for arresting prose'
-- Independent

'An exuberant collection; each story bursts forth from the pages
with a cacophony of imagery that sweeps up the reader'
-- The Times

'Karen Russell's dazzlingly inventive debut...places American
adolescents in head-spinning worlds that will charm and entice...Strange,
gorgeous stuff' -- The Metro

'This dazzling collection of surreal stories introduced a scintillating new voice'
-- Metro

'outrageously imaginative and profoundly funny ...
surreal...impressive in many ways...A wild and brilliant first book'
-- Irish Times - Rev'd Eilis Ni Dhuibhne

`...witty short stories...tackled with smart, innocent humour.' -- Easy Living

`Dazzling and moving...'
-- Independent on Sunday: Rev'd Murrough O'Brien

`She creates some truly magical and creepy settings' -- Daily Mail - Rev'd Amber Pearson

`The dreamlike tales are all spun out in Russell's kooky, stylised
prose - part magic realism, part Tim Burton'. -- City AM

Review

`This eccentric short story collection is a stunning debut for Karen Russell...each story is readable and compelling'. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bill Toad on 23 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating collection of clever funny short stories and the title story is the best. It's a great twist on the current trend of werewolf literature.
Set in a Jesuit institution, the nuns set out to civilise the offspring of the local human and wolf populations with the grudging consent of parents of both species and turn their progeny into more acceptable adults.
Reminiscent of the awful separation and isolation of aboriginal children in North America and Australia the story is so cleverly written that besides being amusing it conveys a sense of wonder and realism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leigh-Ann on 3 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ten short grown-up fairy tales all set in the same strange island community. I enjoyed this book, finding the stories delightfully odd, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't like the surreal or when endings aren't quite wrapped up properly. Russell's second book and first novel 'Swamplandia' is the complete version of the first story in this book 'Ava Wrestles the Alligator'.
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Format: Paperback
This book came out a couple of years ago and plenty of good things have already been said about it by lots and lots of people. Russell's been listed for, and won, some awards, too, but I didn't know any of this when I picked up St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. I just liked the cover. But now that I've read it I want to spend a paragraph or two on the stories.

Frankly, they're brilliant. Karen Russell has been likened to Angela Carter, and it's easy to see why, with the title story in particular sharing a similarity or two with work in The Bloody Chamber. For me, though, whilst Russell's writing is as assured and as lyrical as Carter's, it's more subtle. Whereas others might dig a shallow grave for their message and cover it with a smattering of beautiful lines, any message Russell has for the reader is expertly contained within the story, a part of its shape rather than something bulging out from behind a thin veil of poetic prose. There's a fairy tale quality to many of the stories, with an acceptance of the strange and wonderful typical of magical realism, but in no story did it feel contrived or forced. The fantastical element is simply another aspect of the story Russell chooses to tell, one of a number of ingredients she uses to talk about childhood, growing up, getting old...you know, real life stuff.

The stories are quirky, bizarre, fanciful - I mean, look at some of the titles: `Lady Yeti and the Palace of Artificial Snows'; `Ava Wrestles the Alligator'; `Z.Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers' - but they're solid stories with nothing flippant or irreverent about them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 84 reviews
72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Wow. 25 Jan 2007
By Robert Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Karen Russell, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (Knopf, 2006)

I was reading along in Karen Russell's debut volume of short stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, and I was pretty sure it was going to get an excellent review. I figured it would flirt with inclusion in my Best Reads of 2007 list. Then I read "Out to Sea." Not only is this book a shoo-in for the Best List-- a pretty amazing feat for a book I read in the first two weeks of the year-- but I'm reasonably confident in saying it's got a shot at the overall title, and I can say with great confidence that Karen Russell made a devoted lifelong fan with that story, a masterpiece of emotional wordplay and controlled eroticism. (The story that follows it, "Accident Brief, #00/422," takes the exact opposite tack to the same basic destination, giving us a laugh-out-loud funny narrator who injects moments of such hopeless despair that the reader will find himself stopping laughing, instantly and uncomfortably, on an alarmingly regular basis.) Ben Marcus, in one of the blurbs on the back cover, says "This book is a miracle.", and I am inclined to agree with him.

It would be easy, if a touch simplistic, to pigeonhole Russell's stories in the magical realism genre. All the hallmarks are there-- normal (well, kind of) people, real (or at least plausible) places, supernatural (or are they, really?) events. So, yeah. Lots of qualifiers there. Borges/Marquez/Murakami/Hoffman/et al. would recognize Russell on sight, but less as a daughter than as a second cousin once removed. The same could be said of any genre where one might fit Russell's work; it seems to be a new beast all its own.

Genre, however, is not as important as skill, and Russell is an immensely skilled writer. It's a good thing to be able to write solid characters and put them into interesting situations. If you can do that, in general, you've got yourself a workable book. After that, everything else is what separates the good from the great: the eye for minuscule detail, the ability to recognize that one turn of phrase will ring marginally better than another against the resonance of the rest of the story's language, a talent for developing one's characters in surprising, yet plausible (within the framework of the story, anyway) ways. When you're reading a Karen Russell story, it becomes very quickly obvious that you're in the hands of a master. If you have not yet picked this up, do so at your earliest convenience; it is that rarest of beasts, a book that actually lives up to all the pre-publication buzz. *****
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Incomplete Fragments of Better Stories 28 Dec 2010
By Karen A. Bruce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For the most part, the stories in this collection read like incomplete fragments of better, richer tales. It felt like Russell set up interesting situations and introduced intriguing characters only to end the story before doing anything with them. The endings felt as if pages of the manuscript had simply been lost, instead of the openness being used to achieve an effect. Yes, stories do not need a neat ending; Katherine Mansfield's works prove that beautifully. However, that's very different to simply truncating the narrative arbitrarily and hoping it will be suitably postmodern, which seemed to be the case here.

The one exception is the title story, which is quite stunning and worth reading by itself. It isn't worth the price of the book, though, so get the collection from your local library and skip to the end.
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
ten delightful fables 10 Sep 2006
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
These are ten delightful fables that star young heroes and heroines living in an offbeat magical Florida Everglades. The irony behind the uplifting tales is that they involve growing up to face reality yet still retain the magical environs of childhood while on the verge of losing their youthful enthusiasm forever. Each contribution is haunting (not just Olivia's tale) and satirical as Karen Russell brings out the inspirational "I won't Grow Up" from Peter Pan while having to pretend to have grown up; albeit what are girls who just want to have fun raised by wolves but now left with nuns to do except to fake assimilation. Whether one searches for a dead sister using enchanted goggles or has a Minatare as a dad, ST. LUCY'S HOME FOR GIRLS RAISED BY WOLVES: AND OTHER STORIES is a fun compilation that cleverly lampoons adult solutions to children's problems by sending them to their room in this case a camp for troubled sleepers.

Harriet Klausner
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Unfinished and a bit disappointing 5 Nov 2007
By AmyofOK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Many of the stories in this book are interesting -- at first. Then they just end abruptly -- no payoff, no closure. There is something to be said for an open ending -- but when an entire collection of short stories end that way, it is frustrating for the reader. It also leads one to believe that the author was not pushing herself hard enough (This is not a swipe at the author, just a reader's observation). I finally became bored with the format and disappointed with the stories.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I really wanted to like this book ... 25 Feb 2008
By doc peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Russell is a talented writer, whose stories are creative, imaginitive,and often times fun. However, as many reviewers have mentioned, frequently - all too frequently - there is no resolution, they simply end, as if to say,"well, that's it - time for another story."

The setting of many of her tales - the woods of south Florida and the south in general - were vivid, and were an element that I particularly liked. I enjoyed her characters and the unpredictable and slighly supernatural events they found themselves in. But I could never get used to the abrupt ending of her stories. I really wanted to like this book, but I can only give it 3 stars.
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