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Russell Karen

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

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

In the collections 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 DynastyGrandpa Sawtooth, Chief Bigtree, and twelve-year-old Avaproprietors of Swamplandia!, the islands #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, dont 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 youre a kid its often hard to tell the innocuous secrets from the ones that will kill you if you keep them.

Russells 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 lifein an idiom that is as arrestingly lovely as it is surrealKaren Russell shows us who we are and how we live.
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