Monday, July 10, 2017

It's Not Quite Miss Porter's, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        I was just writing recently about the worlds of deformity and grotesqueness in Carson McCullers.  Karen Russell, whose novel, "Swamplandia," I loved is fascinated with the magical and mythological.  This is a short story collection, and let me assure readers, she is as comfortable in this form, as she is with the novel.  In fact, some inform the other.

                                         The first story, about Ava Bigtree, and the Alligator Theme Park, lays the groundwork for what became Swamplandia.  She gives the Westward Expansion movement a mythical variation by having the carriage literally pulled by its patriarch, who is--I kid you not!--a Minotaur!  But it is the last, and titled story I found most moving.  Not since Jerome Bixby's short story, "The Young One," has so poignant a tale been rendered of lycanthropic victims trying to assimilate into modern society.  And Russell explains what happens when they can't, or don't.

                                          This is an almost perfect short story collection, yet I cannot wait for her next novel, as I am sure there will be.  Meanwhile, if you haven't, try this collection, or sink your fangs into her other, "Vampires In The Lemon Grove."  I am anxious to read that one, now!

                                           Russell may not have McCullers' poetic lyricism, but she explores fascinating terrain not many authors do.

                                            Keep it up, Karen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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