Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell (2013) 243 p.


A collection of short stories by Karen Russell, author of 2011’s Pulitzer-snubbed Swamplandia. For my taste her writing style is a bit too contemporary, overly-polished American MFA graduate – but she has a great imagination and these stories are very weird and very enjoyable. For me the standout was ‘The Barn At The End of Our Term,’ in which various presidents of the United States have been reincarnated as horses on a farm somewhere. What feels like a weird joke of a story is strangely sad and touching – are the presidents in Hell? Have they gone insane? Why has this happened to them, and how can they leave? I also quite liked ‘Proving Up,’ a dark and frightening Western fantasy. These are the kinds of stories I’d like to see more in modern American fiction, and I’ll definitely be checking out Swamplandia.