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St. Lucy's home for girls raised by wolves
Karen Russell
Adult Fiction RUSSELL

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A series of upbeat, sentimental fables, the 10 stories of Russell's debut are set in an enchanted version of North America and narrated by articulate, emotionally precocious children from dysfunctional households. Each merges the satirical spirit of George Saunders with the sophisticated whimsy of recent animated Hollywood film. In "Ava Wrestles the Alligator," a motherless girl, "staying in Grandpa Sawtooth's old house until our father, Chief Bigtree, gets back from the Mainland," struggles to understand her big sister's blooming sexuality, which seems to grow scaly and incarnate. Timothy Sparrow and Waldo Swallow Heartland, the two brothers of "Haunting Olivia," search for their sister's ghost near Gannon's Boat Graveyard using a pair of magic swimming goggles. In the title story, the human daughters of werewolves are socialized into polite society. Russell has powers of description and mimicry reminiscent of Jonathan Safron Foer ("My father, the Minotaur, is more obdurate than any man," begins "Children's Reminiscences of the Westward Migration"), and her macabre fantasies structurally evoke great Southern writers like Flannery O'Connor. If, at 24, Russell hasn't quite found a theme beyond growing up is hard to do (especially if you're a wolf girl), her assorted siblings are rendered with winning flair as they gambol, perilously and charmingly, toward adulthood. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Russell's first story collection is a thing of beauty. Each story makes its own bizarre premise seem commonplace. In "Children's Reminiscences of the Westward Migration," Jacob recounts how his father, the Minotaur, pulled the family's wagon westward without losing faith in the better life waiting out West, despite the mistrust of their fellow travelers. Big Red gets herself and her would-be rescuer stuck in a giant conch shell in "The City of Shells." Amputee Sawtooth Bigtree falls in love with the juvenile felon sentenced to visit him on his houseboat in the Out-to-Sea Retirement Community in "Out to Sea." Nuns teach a pack of young girls raised by wolves to behave like human beings in the title story, but along with learning human virtues, the girls learn human failures, too. This startlingly original set of stories, which feels as though it might have been written by Lemony Snicket and Margaret Atwood, is not to be missed, and author Russell, whose fiction debuted in the The New Yorker and who was chosen by New York magazine as one of "25 People To Watch Under 25," is poised to become a literary powerhouse. Recommended. Amy Ford, St. Mary's Cty. Lib., Lexington Park, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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