“When you're a kid, it's hard to tell the innocuous secrets from the ones that will kill you if you keep them.”

I really liked this book. It’s a book I read off the back of a recommendation; it kept coming up on my Amazon page, and I’d picked it up a few times and pondered over it and then Jen said “READ IT” and I generally do as she says so I did. Thank goodness.
My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather. One such melting occurs in summer rain, at midnight, during the vine-green breathing time right before sleep. You have to ask the right question, throw the right rope bridge, to get there-and then bolt across the chasm between you, before your bridge collapses.

St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves is a short story collection about troubled children on the verge of adolescence I guess, but it’s also more than that.
All the stories are set on the same island which I’ve read is supposed to be in the Everglades, but I don’t know how accurate that is, and almost all of them are wonderful. They’re imaginative and witty and clever and moving and at times very unsettling and they’re sometimes barely believable at the same time as being utterly real.
You’ve got the title story of a boarding school tryin to humanise little girls raised by wolves and a gorgeous story of two little boys who set sail in a crab shell to find the ghost of their sister (that one is my favourite I think)
Granana doesn't understand what the big deal is. She didn't cry at Olivia's funeral, and I doubt she even remembers Olivia's name. Granana lost, like, ninety-two million kids in childbirth. All of her brothers died in the war. She survived the Depression by stealing radish bulbs from her neighbors' garden, and fishing the elms for pigeons. Dad likes to remind us of this in a grave voice, as if it explained her jaundiced pitilessness: "Boys. Your grandmother ate pigeons.”

You've got a camp for people with sleep disorders, (I suspect if I lived on that island I'd be carted off there) ice skating apes and an alligator theme park, and an achingly touching story about the ‘Out To Sea’ retirement home, and each and every one (except maybe the story about the minotaur) is suberbly crafted.
Russell is clearly a very skilled writer and some of her description is just…take this:
Mr. Pappadakis smells like Just for Men peroxide dye and eucalyptus foot unguents. He has a face like a catchers mitt. The whole thing puckers inward, drooping with the memory of some dropped fly ball.


I just love that.
Karen Russell has created a collection of solid characters and situations that are unreal enough to grab your attention yet real enough for you to be able to relate to them and the language and turn of phrase, the way she works her words is fabulous fabulous. It’s the perfect example really, of all that is good about the short story although they did all leave me wanting more, which is why I was very pleased to find out that there is a novel length version of the first story. That went straight on my Christmas list!
Read it, please.

Comments

  1. I just bought this book for the same reason (it kept reccomending it to me) STRANGE!!! I haven't read it yet though but I am looking forward to it arriving x

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