Tuesday, April 22, 2008

St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

I haven't yet recommended books to anyone through my blog because I assume everyone has varying tastes. But this one is different. This one appeals to anyone who loves a story. St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves is a collection of short stories by Karen Russell, only 25 years old and already (as one reviewer said) "on fire." Here's an excerpt from one of the stories entitled "the Star-Gazer's Log of Summer-Time Crime":

"Petey's not particularly nimble, but he sure is quick. I'm not surprised. The formula bubbles up unbidden in my brain: Momentum = mass X velocity. And Petey is a sandy dervish of a man, soft-bellied, at least twice my height.
He is also twinkling like a star.
When I get closer, I find out why. Somebody has tied a trash-can lid to Petey's chest with crisscrossed strings of Xmas lights. It's been buffed to an impressive sheen."

The star-gazer story recalls a little boy, a "science nerd" by his own definition, who meets a mentally challenged albino on a beach along with the school bully and his girlfriend, who rope the star-gazer into tricking baby sea turtles to climb into a burlap sack so that they can say they have become criminals (it's against the law to violate a sea turtle's nest). The other stories are equally strange; the one I finished last night was about a 19th century minotaur with a human family who pulls their wagon across the desert to the West in a (vain) search for free land. The first story in the collection recalls two orphaned (or abandoned? I'm not sure) children living on an alligator farm in Louisiana who are separated by the sister's schizophrenia, a disease which convinces her to run away into the marsh with an invisible boyfriend.

And although all of them, as you can probably tell, have a penchant for the "strange," they are surprisingly, equally, human. Each character struggles with something just recognizable enough that, although the main character may have horns or talks to ghosts who aren't there, you could almost swear this exact scenario had once happened to you.

1 comment:

skylar said...

hello, just randomly found your blog - we share something in common - a love for bollywood movies and jeanette winterson's oranges are not the only fruit.

ps: happy anniversary