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Vampires in the Lemon Grove Hardcover – 7 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (7 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701187883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701187880
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.4 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 492,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Her work has a velocity and a trajectroy that is little less than dazzling and a tough, enveloping, exhilarating voice than cannot be equaled." (Joy Williams, New York Times)

"A consistently arresting, frequently stunning collection...Even more impressive than Russell's critically acclaimed novel." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Karen Russell's third book, the story collection "Vampires in the Lemon Grove," should cement her reputation as one of the most remarkable fantasists writing today" (Elizabeth Hand Washington Post)

"Russell can take Antarctic tailgaters, an army of seagulls or simply a window and twist a tale that explodes on the page and lingers in the mind" (Fiona Wilson The Times)

"A touch of paradoxically grounding pixie humour. This way of writing is so clever that nothing needs to be added to the set-up. These stories have unbelievable strength" (M John Harrison Guardian)

Book Description

A wickedly funny and dark new collection of dystopian tales from the Pulitzer and IMPAC shortlisted author of Swamplandia!

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vivek Tejuja on 15 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Short stories are integral to what I read. They always have been. I do not remember a time not reading short stories. Maybe that is how I started reading. A writer cannot hide behind a short story. This is how Jonathan Franzen put it subtly in one of his essays on Alice Munro (which I think everyone must read), the short story genius. Sometimes I feel that the short story has not been given its due on the literature scene, but then I start thinking about the writers and I am glad that that is not the case. At least not when publishers are still publishing a collection of short stories (which is rather difficult to find these days) and when readers like me are reading them.

This brings me to the review of a collection of short stories I finished reading quite recently. "Vampires in the Lemon Grove" by Karen Russell is a collection like none other that I have read recently. I had heard a lot about Karen Russell. Her first book of stories and novel were major hits and I knew that if I were to start with the author, I would with this
book and I am glad it worked that way.

The collection as the title suggests is rather weird. The stories start abruptly and it takes a while for the reader to get into it, however once the reader does, then he or she wonders why did the story/stories end so soon. That is one of the best compliments according to me, a writer can receive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok on 5 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
With "Vampires in the Lemon Grove", Karen Russell demonstrates why she is among our finest young American writers of contemporary fiction, elegantly transcending and melding genres in what is truly a most captivating short story collection. Drawing upon fantasy and horror, Russell merges them effortlessly into mainstream literary fiction, conjuring tales as memorable as any published recently by the likes of Dan Chaon and Charles Yu. Having heard her read from her memorable debut novel "Swamplandia" at the popular - and critically acclaimed - Franklin Park Reading series in Brooklyn, NY, I eagerly anticipated this book, her second short story collection after "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves", and I am far from disappointed. Set in Italy, the opening tale, "Vampires in the Lemon Grove", introduces us to a vampire couple confronting a crisis in their century-old marriage when one develops a fear of flying. "Reeling for the Empire" imagines a late 19th Century Japan in which the heroine becomes virtually enslaved as someone capable of generating and spooling out reels of exceptionally high quality silkworm silk. "Pushing Up" and "The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis" unearth the dark side of adolescence, as two literary gems replete in horror worthy of comparison with the likes of Clive Barker, Dan Chaon, Neil Gaiman and China Mieville. "Dougbert Shackleton's Rules for Antarctic Tailgating" is Russell's clever reimagining of Antarctic ecological predator-prey relationships as some vast marine "sporting event", and may remind some of Charles Yu's terse, often witty, prose in his recent short story collection "Sorry Please Thank You".Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I know you shouldn't judge a book by the cover, but when the cover has a title like "Vampires in the Lemon Grove", I can't help but be a little intrigued, especially when the author has a recent history like Karen Russell's. This history includes a Guardian award nomination for a previous collection with another great title; "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" and a Pulitzer Prize shortlisting for her novel, "Swamplandia!"

The intrigue of the title proves to be fulfilled in the first story. Vampire stories are all the rage, thanks in part to Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" trilogy of books and the four films they became, so there is very little new that can be found in such a story, but Russell has managed to achieve that with a story of vampires attempting to change their diet. "Reeling for the Empire" is an unexpected delight and unlike anything I recall reading and the basic idea behind "The Barn at the End of Our Term" is brilliantly funny. "Proving Up" adds a dark twist to a frontier tale and leaves the ending deliciously up in the air.

"The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979" is a rites of passage tale and "The New Veterans" looks at ways of relieving post-traumatic stress. But neither leaves it there, as in Russell's hands these potentially standard subjects are given new life by adding something a little different. So does sports fandom, thanks to the hilarious "Dougbert Shackleton's Rules for Antarctic Tailgating" and another rites of passage tale sees bullies get a shock in "The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis", which also has a wonderfully open ending.

I've been intentionally very brief in my descriptions of the stories here.
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