Karen Russell's collection of short stories is a wonder of imagination. Each story differs from the next in location and character, but each has a dark streak with a pull. The title story, "Vampires in the Lemon Grove," is just that--a story of ancient creatures who find the sweetness of a certain Italian lemon grove slake their thirst for blood.
From there the stories jump to Japan, Australia, the American West and Antarctica. The locations are ancillary to characters in each story. You begin each story settling yourself into the narrative, which often starts midway. As the plot is revealed, you no longer have to suspend belief. You will buy into the situation as painted by Russell.
I'm not going any further into the stories, because discovery is part of the joy of this book. But if you haven't been surprised in a while, read Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Karen Russell won the 2012 National Magazine Award for fiction and her first novel, Swamplandia! was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow.
Tenth of December
The Interpreter of Maladies