Review: Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories by Karen Russell

lemon groveThis is a short story collection that reminds me of early Stephen King collection Different Seasons, which contained the story The Body (upon which the movie Stand By Me was based) and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (upon which the movie The Shawshank Redemption was based). They are literary stories with a dash of the macabre, or the bizarre, thrown in for good measure. Well written, getting at deeper issues other than just shock and gore. 

If it’s a horror story you’re looking for, keep looking. You’ll say “WTF” a few times while reading these stories, but you won’t have to sleep with the lights on.

My favorite was probably the last one: The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis. It revolves around a “scarecrow” type doll that appears near a gang of bullies’ hideout in the woods. Through flashbacks we learn that these boys, and the storyteller in particular, bullied a kid named Eric Mutis, who had some developmental issues and then one day just vanished from school. 

The titular vampire tale was a little disappointing, as the male vampire was probably the least threatening monster since that dude from Twilight. But it set the tone for the rest of the stories — don’t expect the normal sterotypical monsters in here!

I have another one of Russell’s collections – Swamplandia! — from the library, and I am going to dive into that next. 

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