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St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

6 Ratings: 1.0
Karen Russell's first collection of short stories.
1 review about St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

Unique and Memorable Collection, with a few missteps along the way.

  • Jun 15, 2010

The stories in this collection have had some serious publication credibility (e.g. Best American Short Stories, The New Yorker), and, for the most part, they stand up to scrutiny and challenges by good readers. Admittedly, there are some stories in it that don't ring as true (e.g. "Z.Z.'s Sleepaway Camp..." and "The City of Shells") as the great ones do (the titular story and "from Children's Reminisces of the Western Migration" and "Ava Wrestles the Alligator," among others). The great ones reinvent common ideas (werewolves, minotaurs, manifest destiny, alligator wrestlers) and push them into a new story with engaging, original characters/plots. By reinvent I don't mean deflate or show the "softer side of," but rather expand upon the current manifestations with more in-depth and surprising insights into such things as werewolves and ghosts. These stories are exciting to read because you feel as if you are seeing a new world with new things worth seeing, rather than a world you're totally accustomed to. It takes risks in terms of its characters and settings--opting for the weirder, which works much to Russell's advantage. It's her stories that don't push their characters and settings into weird enough situations that don't succeed to me. She doesn't seem comfortable and/or effective in more "mundane" circumstances (mundane for her can still be odd for the general reader--e.g. a sea world-like park, a glacier with choral singers, a summer camp for kids with sleeping disorders). I guess when you can see what she's capable of, the weaker stories really stand out as weaker. Overall, definitely recommend this book to a friend.

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June 24, 2010
Ooooh, werewolves and ghosts? I can dig it! I was moreso intrigued by the title of this book, but reading your review has peaked my interest in it. I'll have to check it out, especially since I'm a fan of short stories. Thanks for sharing!
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