Guest Review: Vampires in the Lemon Grove
However, I love short stories, when done correctly. They are a lot like commercials – there’s always the potential to be hilarious or touching, but the majority end up like this. So it’s always nice to see a collection of short stories like Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell.
What really appeals to me about Vampires is that the author’s imagination really shines through. It reminds me of being a little kid and getting in one of those “what-if” competitions with my friends.
You know, “What if aliens exist?” “Well, what if cows are actually aliens that are spying on us?” “Well what if horses are members of an anti-alien organization sent here to keep watch on the cows?” “Well what if the whole farm is actually a huge space ship and the barn is equipped with meteor-busting lasers and a force-field powered by atomic chicken droppings?” You know how it goes.
Except that Karen Russell has made the “what-if” competition mature and intriguing. For example, what if women in Meiji-era Japan were duped into working in silk factories, given tea that turned them into silkworms, and forced to actually produce silk threads through their skin?
What if all of the events in the universe were influenced by random items stolen by seagulls? It’s like reading someone else’s dream diary. Everything makes just enough sense that you could see someone dreaming it up, but each story is stranger and more fascinating than the last.
For a weird, twisted, thoroughly enjoyable journey, I highly recommend Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Unless you don’t like short stories, that is.
Ed Note: She's right, I don't like short stories. However, I do like her "what-if" games. They are always entertaining, and she always takes hers 10 steps beyond what "normal" people tend to. That's how we roll in our family. Try to keep up. CTS