Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
From the author of the New York Times best seller Swamplandia!--a
finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--a magical new collection of stories
that showcases Karen Russell's gifts at their inimitable best.
dejected teenager discovers that the universe is communicating with him
through talismanic objects left behind in a seagull's nest. A
community of girls held captive in a silk factory slowly transmute into
human silkworms, spinning delicate threads from their own bellies, and
escape by seizing the means of production for their own revolutionary
ends. A massage therapist discovers she has the power to heal by
manipulating the tattoos on a war veteran's lower torso. When a group of
boys stumble upon a mutilated scarecrow bearing an uncanny resemblance
to the missing classmate they used to torment, an ordinary tale of high
school bullying becomes a sinister fantasy of guilt and atonement. In a
family's disastrous quest for land in the American West, the monster is
the human hunger for acquisition, and the victim is all we hold dear.
And in the collection's marvelous title story--an unforgettable parable
of addiction and appetite, mortal terror and mortal love--two vampires
in a sun-drenched lemon grove try helplessly to slake their thirst for
Tenth of December (eBook) or eAudio Book by George Saunders
One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his
generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story,
and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.
In the taut opener, "Victory Lap," a boy witnesses the attempted
abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice:
Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from
his parents and act? In "Home," a combat-damaged soldier moves back in
with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the
one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning
meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer
patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a
troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the
dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded
owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right
thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush
with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments
that force him to lust, to love, to kill--the unforgettable characters
that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders's signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.
Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work,
despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary
experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the
fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what
makes us good and what makes us human.
Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December--through
their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings,
and their generosity of spirit--not only entertain and delight; they
fulfill Chekhov's dictum that art should "prepare us for tenderness."