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Orange World and Other Stories

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  610 ratings  ·  126 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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4.01  · 
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 ·  610 ratings  ·  126 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: short-fiction, horror
“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 -
Bridgit Morgan
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.
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
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
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...
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.doodle.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
John Decker
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
"The Bad Graft," "Orange World," and "Bog Girl: A Romance" are phenomenal and imaginative, but the other stories drown out what they bring to the collection.
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
Delany Holcomb
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Karen Russell has done it again! She has brilliantly crafted this cocktail of stories that enchant and move the reader in only the way Russell knows how. For fans of "Vampires in the Lemon Grove", "Orange World" is the collection of tales you've been searching for to satiate your appetite. Each story feels like an episode of the Twilight Zone with genuine heart and feeling, and I am both satisfied by "Orange World" as well as left feeling hungry for more.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
I will read anything that Karen Russell writes. Magical realism + birth and breastfeeding and mothering across the ages = fantastic short story. You can read this one for free at the New Yorker site.

"The breaking is continuous—in the ouroboros of caretaking, guilt and love and fear and love continuously swallow one another."
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
Jun 04, 2019 added it
Eight incredibly imaginative stories - the only thing they have in common is Russell's beguiling story telling. I've read one other story collection of hers a few years ago, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, and I felt like those stories were a little flat compared to their delicious titles. My experience here was the other way around - the titles may be plainer, but the stories sucked me right in. They are fairly long, ranging from about 20 to 40 pages, so they go deep. My favorites w ...more
Karissa Fast
The strange magic-realism I've come to expect from Karen Russell is in full force in this collection of short stories. The thing I love most about this book is the juxtaposition between the writing style and the subject matter. Her writing is always dreamy and romantic, as though she is writing about a dazzling royal ball. But the subject matter is often grotesque to the extreme: a room full of men who have been dead for years, a smitten teen carrying around a decomposing body everywhere he goes ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I guess I was expecting something a little different than I got. Some of the stories were pretty inventive and different, but I didn't enjoy them as much as I did some of her other efforts. It is sometimes hard to read a story and feel that it wasn't as effective as it could have been. I thought the Joshua Tree one was interesting, but like many of the others it left me somewhat flat. I was expecting more humor too. Not to discourage anyone from trying these.
Didn't get it. At first I thought it was a story set in a collapsing world with old(er) women suddenly got pregnant and had babies. *I marked it as scifi* But then it became a horror tale with demons. *Ok, scratch that, it's horror* Yet, at the end I still did not understand the point. A real demon or manifestation of post-birth trauma? Anyway, too much body horror for my taste.
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review copy sent by Knopf Publishing.

My first experience with Russell's writing.
All of these stories had interesting premises but not all of them managed to convince me completely. Although I appreciated all of them, my favorites were The Gondoliers and Orange World.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Wildly imaginative and wonderfully written.
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
May 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 | I usually enjoy Russell, but not this time around.
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.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell is a very highly recommended collection of eight short stories.
This remarkable, memorable collection is impressive in both the writing and the story telling. Russell captures basic human truths and presents them in her curious tales. The well-written, off-beat stories have a basis in magic realism and make the bizarre seem normal. They can be strangely funny while also deeply emotional. The whole collection is truly reminiscent of Twilight Zone epi
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-junior
i love Karen Russell forever, she does the best kind of magical realism.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Her heart is breaking not to be with her daughter, just as Rae's is breaking not to be with her mother and her grandmother. The breaking is continuous - in the ouroboros of caretaking, guilt and love and fear and love continuously swallow one another.

Unbelievably, my first time reading Karen Russell. I see why she's so popular, though: dramatic, movie-like plots with narrative stylings reminiscent of Byatt, Waters, and Kingsolver.

There are 8 stories in this volume. Only one I was truly meh abou
Rori Rischak
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you have never read anything by Karen Russell ... she's one of my favorite authors, but she's not for everyone. If you're into fast-paced stories with a lot of action, short sentences, and snarky dialogue, you might want to skip her stuff. But if you're into the sorts of stories that sound like drug trips (I imagine, I've never actually experienced a drug trip), with strange, surreal worlds and breathtaking descriptions, give her a try. I would say Russell is primarily a world-builder as oppo ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These stories are bonkers crazy. The premises silly, bordering on nonsensical. When you try to explain a Russell story to someone, you sound crazy yourself:
A teenager who's first love is a 2000 year old bog girl.
A new mother breastfeeding a devil.
A retired rancher yearning for one more chance to raise a tornado.
But that is her brilliance. She takes fanciful situations, and makes you believe. You love the characters and want to see them through, no matter how ludicrous the setting.

Russell writ
Varsha Ravi (between.bookends)
Another wildly inventive, dark collection of stories from a master storyteller that doesn't fail to impress. Touching on a variety of topics ranging from environmentalism, global warming, post-partum depression, first love, and all that's in between, these stories crackle with a fierce imagination and a touch of the other-worldly.

Russell tinkers with daily, human and mundane realities, presenting them in outlandish and curiously dark settings, that at once seem both familiar and unfamiliar. The
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
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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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