St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Other Stories

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Other Stories

Book - 2006
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A dazzling debut, a blazingly original voice: the ten stories in St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves introduce a radiant new talent.

In the collection's title story, a pack of girls raised by wolves are painstakingly reeducated by nuns. In "Haunting Olivia," two young boys make midnight trips to a boat graveyard in search of their dead sister, who set sail in the exoskeleton of a giant crab. In "Z.Z.'s Sleepaway Camp for Disordered Dreamers," a boy whose dreams foretell implacable tragedies is sent to a summer camp for troubled sleepers (Cabin 1, Narcoleptics; Cabin 2, Sleep Apneics; Cabin 3, Somnambulists . . . ). And "Ava Wrestles the Alligator" introduces the remarkable Bigtree Wrestling Dynasty--Grandpa Sawtooth, Chief Bigtree, and twelve-year-old Ava--proprietors of Swamplandia!, the island's #1 Gator Theme Park and Café. Ava is still mourning her mother when her father disappears, his final words to her the swamp maxim "Feed the gators, don't talk to strangers." Left to look after seventy incubating alligators and an older sister who may or may not be having sex with a succubus, Ava meets the Bird Man, and learns that when you're a kid it's often hard to tell the innocuous secrets from the ones that will kill you if you keep them.

Russell's stories are beautifully written and exuberantly imagined, but it is the emotional precision behind their wondrous surfaces that makes them unforgettable. Magically, from the spiritual wilderness and ghostly swamps of the Florida Everglades, against a backdrop of ancient lizards and disconcertingly lush plant life--in an idiom that is as arrestingly lovely as it is surreal--Karen Russell shows us who we are and how we live.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2006.
ISBN: 9780307263988
Characteristics: 246 p. ;,22 cm.


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Jun 10, 2017

See previous comments on this book, especially the one by Kailo which gives a brilliant synopsis. A delightful, yet quirky little book.

ArapahoeBethW Aug 23, 2016

Quirky lit fiction

Dec 22, 2014

This is quite a quirky collection of strange tales. Russell's writing is solid, and her imagination is boundless. If you like George Saunders, you'll probably like Russell.

Nov 20, 2009

Karen Russell?s ten short stories in this collection are narrated by children. And oh, what strange little children these are. In ?Haunting Olivia,? Timothy Sparrow and his brother Waldo Swallow take turns wearing a pair of pink goggles to search Gannon?s Boat Graveyard for the ghost of their dead sister, Olivia Lark, while their parents escape from grief and marital problems by touring Third World countries. Jacob, in ?from Children?s Reminiscences of the Westward Migration,? is the son of a Minotaur. When his family decides to move west, they hitch dear old dad to the wagon and set out for the great unknown, where Jacob?s father performs legendary feats of strength and usefulness on the trail, and is then accused of spreading lice to the children and titillating the cows. And in the whimsical title story, the daughters of werewolves are taken from their caves, renamed (GWARR! becomes Jeanette, for example), and taught how to behave in polite society, though there?s a part of them that would still rather run and howl and bite and scratch and snarl. Odd, quirky, and fanciful, these stories are still full of all the stuff and drama of real life. Things are not easily resolved in these stories; growing up is not a straight-forward, straight-laced business after all. Russell?s children are misfits who live in macabre worlds that are part myth; the stories they tell are strange and wonderful and entirely original. Even though the tales in St. Lucy?s Home for Girls Raised by Werewolves are fantastic in nature, they perfectly reveal the insightful glimmers of real life and the overwhelming imaginative powers that all children possess.

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