In the best way possible, I became a fan of Karen Russell’s short fiction. It must have been late 2006 when I saw this strange book while browsing a real-life bookstore: St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. Knowing nothing about the author, I bought it and was thrilled at what I’d found. In 2010, Russell was listed as one of The New Yorker‘s “20 Under 40,” and her story, “The Dredgeman’s Revelation,” was one of the best of the bunch (my initial thoughts here). It turned out that story was an excerpt of her first novel, Swamplandia!, so I was excited to read that novel when it came out in early 2011. I was disappointed (my thoughts here). For me, the best part of the novel was the short story, “The Dredgeman’s Revelation,” and a very dark ride into the underworld that perhaps also could have worked as a short story. The rest of the novel just didn’t add up, and I figured that Russell was principally a short story writer.

Still, I was a bit nervous when this book arrived. Maybe I had just changed and, consequently, stopped liking Russell. I’ve read the first story, though, and I’m thrilled to say it was grand. I’m excited to visit the rest over the next couple of weeks.

Review copy courtesy of Knopf.

Review copy courtesy of Knopf.

This will be the anchor post, an index with links to my reviews of each story in this collection. When I’ve read through all of the stories, I will update the bottom of this post to give some thoughts on the collection as a whole.

Vampires in the Lemon Grove contains eight short stories.

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