Vampires in the Lemon Grove

By Karen Russell
(Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780307957238, 243pp.)

Publication Date: February 12, 2013

List Price: $24.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the February 2013 Indie Next List
“Karen Russell has the audacity to venture into realms few writers will explore and the talent to make the landscape her own. She returns to the short story form and creates worlds surreal, magical, and horrific, all the while displaying the ability to comment on our own life through her fictional devices. Few modern writers can match her skill, courage, and genius. This collection is testament to her right to be considered in the elite of current authors.”
-- Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI


Description

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.  




About the Author
Karen Russell, a native of Miami, has been featured in both "The New Yorker's" debut fiction issue and "New York" magazine's list of twenty-five people to watch under the age of twenty-six. She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program and is the 2005 recipient of the Transatlantic Review/Henfield Foundation Award; her fiction has recently appeared in "Conjunctions," "Granta," "Zoetrope," "Oxford American," and "The New Yorker," Twenty-five years old, she lives in New York City.


NPR
Saturday, Feb 9, 2013

Swamplandia! author Karen Russell is back with a new collection of short stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove. The title story features two elderly vampires, married for more than a century, who wonder what "till death do us part" means when you can't die. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. Discuss the relationship between Clyde and Magreb, the two vampires in the title story whose hundred-year marriage is tested when one of them develops a fear of flying. Do you think the author believes they have a good marriage? What is the impact of Clyde’s inability to transmute? Consider this quote from the beginning of the story: “I once pictured time as a black magnifying glass and myself as a microscopic flightless insect trapped in that circle of night. But then Magreb came along, and eternity ceased to frighten me.” What is the author saying here about mortal—and immortal—love?

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