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Orange World and Other Stories

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  5,334 ratings  ·  854 reviews
From the Pulitzer Finalist and universally beloved author of the New York Times best sellers Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, a stunning new collection of short fiction that showcases Karen Russell's extraordinary, irresistible gifts of language and imagination.

Karen Russell's comedic genius and mesmerizing talent for creating outlandish predicaments that unca
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Random House Large Print Publishing
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  5,334 ratings  ·  854 reviews

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May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

i've already read and reviewed the first two stories in this collection (The Prospectors and The Bad Graft) during 2017's december advent calendar, so i'm ahead of the game!

and you, too, can be ahead of the game, as four of the eight stories in this collection previously appeared in the new yorker. here are your links: orange world, bog girl, the prospectors, and the bad graft.

i'm not sure if the other stories can be found elsewhere, but don't go looking for them online - they a
Diane S ☔
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor-2019
What Russell has accomplished with these stories is hard to describe, but I'll try. She takes what often starts off as a relatively normal situation, and then pulls the stories into a surreal world. One never knows when, how or even why it happens but it does. I'm always in awe of authors who have this kind of imagination, and write so well that the reader accepts these situations as they are. Fiendish!

This is a strong work. Eight stories, all but one I liked, the first, The Prospector my favori
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-fiction
“O.K.,” Yvette says, breathing loudly through her nose. “That’s O.K. Weaning is a process.”

A group of lactating mothers work together to defeat a very hungry demon. Sounds bizarre, I know, but I found it to be quite a mesmerizing read.

Bet the La Leche League never had to deal with this situation.

Read it for yourself - https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is my second favorite Karen Russell (I will always hold St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves as one of my favorite books.) Top stories include The Bad Graft, Bog Girl: A Romance, and The Gondoliers. All of these have some kind of conflict between humans and the natural world, from infiltrating cacti to corpses to a Florida covered in toxic water.

Here is a link to The Bad Graft in the New Yorker if you want to try it out.

At ALA Midwinter, the publisher literally gave the last galley of
Dannii Elle
These eight collected tales became increasingly more bizarre as they incorporated recognisable aspects of historical or modern-day life and subverted them into uncanny, Gothic creations. The prose was as otherworldly as the contents and I was seriously impressed with this anthology. Not every short story is going to appeal in any collection, but this one retained my attention and intrigue throughout.

Here are my individual rating for each story:

The Prospectors - 4.5/5 stars
The Bad Graft - 3.75/5
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I remember when Swamplandia! came out, and I obsessively recommended and described it to people. (I must've been such a charming dinner guest.) As far as I'm concerned, Orange World and Other Stories is the pinnacle of Russell's stylistic and imaginative achievement thus far. Each of her tales is so vivid and slightly askew. With a central fantastic conceit played out in an insistently realistic world (not necessarily our world, mind you, but a realistic one)--often melding contexts with which h ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
How does she condense so much narrative into each perfectly calibrated, brightly colored story? The secret must lie in those sentences, oh my GOD, Russell’s prose is a reminder of what it is to read and enjoy a singular voice. I am so in love with this book. It’s her best so far, and that’s saying a LOT.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have no idea how Russell comes up with these mystical and bizarre stories, but I'm glad that she does. "The Bad Graft" is the story of a Joshua Tree's spirit invading a woman's body that I can't stop thinking about; then there's "The Gondoliers", with gorgeous description of the eerily-real future of Florida, somewhat abandoned after an environmental catastrophe; and the short but bittersweet life of a dog in "Madame Bovary's Greyhound". This collection is altogether enchanting with a light se ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having new books by Helen Phillips (The Need – read it immediately) and Karen Russell in the same year is almost more excitement than I can handle. Both writers work in the literary surreal/purgatorial/unsettling/horror/weird space and I very much love it. These stories are truly brilliant and Russell is a master storyteller (but we knew that already).
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was a fascinating collection of short stories! They were all great, but The Tornado Auction was definitely my favorite: that one will stick with me for a long time.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Take a look through any reviews for Karen Russell and you'll find so many people wondering how the heck she comes up with these things.

Why you may not like it: Russell's stories always start off normal enough and take a dive into the uncanny. A lot of her stories feel strange for the sake of being strange. I don't often find that I can find deeper meanings or reasons, so if a bunch of short stories about weird things doesn't sound like a good time, turn away.

Why I really liked this: The imagin
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I will say that Karen Russell’s imagination is. Fertile and complex place. Her short stories are incredibly varied and always unexpected. Unfortunately, I just didn’t engage with most of these. I often leave her work thinking I should like it, but alas ...
Audra (ouija.reads)
I’m not sure exactly what is going on in Karen Russell’s brain, but if I could get a little of that in my morning coffee I’m pretty sure the world would paint itself over in ultraviolet. She is on another wavelength entirely and it is a strange, brilliant, and wonderful place.

Russell is already known for her short stories, Orange World being her third collection and having had work appear in everything from The New Yorker to Zoetrope to The Best American Short Stories.

The eight stories in this n
Bill Hsu
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked "The Tornado Auction" and the title story, didn't care much for the rest. I thought her two earlier collections were more interesting, with more charm and magic. ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a fantasy/supernatural/magic realism short story about a new mother and her fears. It can be nominated for this year Hugo.

This is a story of a woman, who while not exactly young is the first time mother. She is afraid to lose her child and has a deal with a devil to protect the child. She is not the only one. After the birth, the devil demand a daily breast-feeding, exhausting the mother.

It can be seen as an allusion of post-partum depression or more general, a fear that anything can hur
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting enough little tale but really suffers for being too little. Well written but ultimately goes nowhere - or jumps off before the final destination. This would make a decent book though!

It's free; follow the link on the page...
Oct 12, 2022 rated it liked it
Have you ever read a story or in this case stories, that left wondering WTH? If you enjoyed it, this is the book for you! I’m still trying to figure out what I read!!
Wendy Mihell
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read Orange World and Other Stories for my book club and it is certainly a mixed bag! I absolutely adored several stories (the Black Corfu and the Tornado Auction in particular) but others I found to be exceptionally dense, slow moving, pointless, and hard to get through (looking at you, Bog Girl). What I appreciated so much about Orange World is how the unique concepts presented in the book made me think deeper about what the stories were saying. I think Karen Russell did a fantastic job with ...more
Jason Furman
A friend of mine ruined Karen Russell for me by telling me that she liked stories where the edges bend, a notion that captured the fantastical as a metaphor that I liked so much in, for example, in everything from Kafka stories to Her Body and Other Parties. The problem with Karen Russell, as she pointed out and immediately resonated with me, is the edges do not bend. It is all quite literal. I love just about all of the literal concepts in Orange World and Other Stories--two women visiting ghos ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: booked-and-busy
B&B Book Club - Cycle 1, Book 4

2.5/5 stars but I'm downgraded it to 2 stars for the purposes of GR
What I Liked:
- The convenience of the short stories. I could easily read one in bed for the evening. 
- The stories were intriguing enough where I wished they were longer and I could explore the world building more.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Didn't know this would be creepy and ideal for Halloween season. Only one of the stories didn’t creep/gross me out. I was getting Edgar Allen Poe vibes.
- This boo
Dec 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved how different and interesting each of these stories are. They have a quirk they exploit or central premise that just really pushes the boundaries with realism in fiction, some more blatantly than others. I just enjoyed that pivot with each new story, always anticipating how Russell would surprise me next. I also find these kinds of stories to be far more engaging than her more realist novel/work.
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
—"Orange World," p.235

Karen Russell's Orange World isn't what you think it is. Oh, sure, it's good—and that you certainly ought to expect, if you've read any of Russell's previous work—but every story in this collection takes a wry and unexpected turn or two, and brings at least one trenchant observation about human nature. Russell seems to know a lot about human nature, in fact, and these tales—however far they may deviate from consensus real
Oct 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This collection took my middling expectations and shattered them into a million tiny stars, I am enraptured.
Cami Craig
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I am an avid Karen Russell stan. In fact, I would go as far to say that she is my favorite contemporary author. There is truly no one in the literary world that does quite what she does, and quite as well. "Orange World and Other Stories" is a collection of seven parable-like stories that juxtapose the supernatural world with societal familiarity. This connection manifests differently within each separate narrative; however, the author's style, as it pertains to sentence construction ...more
Becky Spratford
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Three Words That Describe This Book: weird, unsettling, captivating

Let's get this out of the way....I loved this collection, but that doesn't not mean every story was perfect for me.

I am not going to rehash the plots of every story here. First, others will do that in their reviews. And Second, what happens in each story is varied and doesn't really matter. What does matter is the over all feel of these stories.

This book is the perfect example of the popular genre of "weird fiction." Here is how
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strange things happen to people in Karen Russell tales. In this, her third short story collection, those things include fortune-seeking young girls who end up dancing with zombies, a teenage boy who falls in love with a red-haired bog corpse, a depressed middle-aged man raising tornadoes, and in the epistolary tale, a new mother who is forced to suckle the devil.

The power of the stories is their seamless weaving of natural and supernatural, blended with everyday humor. Consider when new mother R
Jessica Klahr
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection was almost everything I hoped it would be. Russell’s ability to construct entire worlds and a strong sense of completeness by the end is uncanny. The first three stories were my favorite, as they were prime examples of her doing what she does best: taking what starts out to appear as normal society and adding more and more weirdness almost to the brink of absurdity and then reeling it back a little. “The Bog Girl,” for instance, wouldn’t have worked as well as it did if all the s ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Strange, intriguing stories. “The Bad Graft” was amazingly inventive, but when I started reading “The Gondoliers,” a dystopian Florida story, I was sure it was going to be my favorite. It went too long, though, and eventually got too confusing. And then I got to the last story – “Orange World” – which is just amazing. My youngest child is now seventeen, but “Orange World” brought back all the overpowering love, devotion, and fear of early motherhood. Easily the most satisfying of the stories, an ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Karen Russell is DOPE
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fascinating range of stories. I must get her first collection now.
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The Wild Detectiv...: Karen Russell's Orange World 1 24 Sep 10, 2019 10:11AM  

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Karen Russell graduated from Columbia University's MFA program in 2006. Her stories have been featured in The Best American Short Stories, Conjunctions, Granta, The New Yorker, Oxford American, and Zoetrope. Her first book of short stories, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was published in September 2006. In November 2009, she was named a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree. I ...more

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