Sarah's Reviews > St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
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's review
Nov 15, 10

bookshelves: short-stories, magical-realism
Read from November 01 to 15, 2010

First of all, Karen Russell wins the award for best story titles, hands down: Ava Wrestles the Alligator, ZZ's Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers, the title story, etc. The prose crackles. Several of the stories take place on a very strange and well-imagined island full of Bizarroland tourist attractions, perhaps off of Florida. She skims the waters of magic realism with the tips of her wings; the titles and the stories are packed with dream imagery. All of which is stuff I love.

Why, then, the three star rating rather than the four? Russell's use of language is often gorgeous, but at the same time it leaves me cold. I resorted to reading one story a day so that the beautiful sameness didn't become grating. It takes me too long to figure out what makes these characters tick, and to figure out the strange rules and etiquette of the world in which they live. They all carry a reserve that makes it hard for me to feel for them, and the narrators' voices, too, have a sameness to them. Finally, I often have trouble figuring out where my own stories should end, so I hate to throw stones, but many of these stories feel incomplete. I know it's not necessarily wrong for a story to leave you saying "then what happened?" but many of these felt like interrupted dreams, the kind you wake from with that nagging feeling that there was a little more left to it, that it would all make sense if only you'd had five more minutes.
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Quotes Sarah Liked

Karen Russell
“My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather.”
Karen Russell, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves


Reading Progress

11/02/2010 page 49
19.0% "Some great images: "a tin roof that hums with the memory of rain" "during mating season the bedroom window rattles with the ardor of birds." "My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather.""
11/14/2010 page 197
77.0% "I'm reading this one story a day because I feel like otherwise they'll get too similar."
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