Vampires in the Lemon Grove – Karen Russell (2013, Alfred A. Knopf, New York)
While the stories in Vampires in the Lemon Grove are in many ways darker in tone than those in Russell’s first collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised By Wolves, I found them even more enjoyable. “Reeling for the Empire” was a clear standout for me: the utter brilliance of this tale of imprisoned human silkworms made me want to jump up and down and scream “Why didn’t I think of this?” The titular story of eternally thirsty vampires is a delightful twist on the canon of the blood-drinking undead, and the awful revelation of the teenage bully in “The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis” made my stomach hurt. In a good way. Once again, Russell’s seemingly limitless creativity astounds in a solid collection.