Thursday, February 7, 2013

Karen Russell

Karen Russell’s new book is Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories.

From her Q & A with Noah Charney at The Daily Beast:

Is there one short story in your new collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, that you’d consider your “first single,” if your collection were an album? If a reader is going to read one of the stories, which would you recommend and why?

Wow, let me think for a second. I think the title story is a good one. It’s a lens through which you can read the other stories in the collection. It’s about monstrous metamorphoses and addiction, the difficulties of committed love. Tonally, I think it encompasses all of the registers in this collection—the other stories range from pretty jet-black horror-tales to goofball comedies, and “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” is a kind of hybrid that tries to be both comic and consequential.

I’ve recently begun a project in which I read a different short story every day for a month and write a short response to it. What are some great short stories that I really should read, that might not be on everyone’s hit list?

I was thinking about that right before you called. I was hoping you would ask me that. The one I for sure wanted to say was “The Dinosaurs” by Italo Calvino. Have you read it yet?

No, but now I will.

It’s part of Calvino’s fabulous book of stories, Cosmicomics, where each tale begins with a scientific epigraph that’s dry as toast, and then plunges the reader headlong into the world of Qfwfq, a narrator who is as old as the Universe and body-hops into numbers, amoebas, and molecules. My favorite story in the collection is “The Dinosaurs,” which begins, very matter-of-factly, “For a brief period of time, I was a dinosaur…” It’s one of the most...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue