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Orange World and Other Stories

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,805 ratings  ·  344 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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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3.99  · 
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 ·  1,805 ratings  ·  344 reviews

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May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it

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
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 -
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
Bridgit Morgan
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jaclyn Crupi
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...
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...
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
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth☮ by: Jenny (Reading Envy)
Shelves: recent-reads
What a fascinating range of stories. I must get her first collection now.
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 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karen Russell is DOPE
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm giving the book three stars although I could honestly give it four for the stories that I did like, and for the fact that even the ones I didn't I still admired. But I think my patience for Karen Russell has dwindled since I once declared her my short-story-spirit-animal. Every single Karen Russell story has a similar voice, even if the characters and plots and even the actual quality of the prose are different -- and that grated on me. So, too, did the fact that all eight stories in this co ...more
Jessica Klahr
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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."
John Decker
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Corinne Keener
I'm a big and long time Karen Russell fan. I'm always a little terrified to return to an author that I've enjoyed before because I'm afraid that I won't like them anymore or something will be missing. Maybe I've changed. Maybe she's changed. So I have to admit that immediately as I started reading, the collection was a pretty big letdown.

The first story, The Prospectors, especially, did not have the normal verve that I've come to love from Russell's strange worlds. This is going to sound very me
musa b-n
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read orange world on recommendation from a friend, and it was beautiful. All of the short stories were so good at structuring an uncanny environment. All the stories were also just full of color! I love prose that pays really close attention to color.

Also, I was reading it heading into Dan's and my Australia vacation, which we were largely taking on Dan's pre-apocalyptic impulse to see the Great Barrier Reef before it was totally destroyed. Upcoming climate demise was big in our minds, and the
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Delany Holcomb
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Karen Russell's new story collection is a goddamned delight. Russell writes full novels in the space of a short story. We may need to fight if you do not like her two completely perfect stories: "Bog Girl: A Romance" and "The Tornado Auction."

And that is not to mention, the other nearly-perfect stories that would be in the top tier in any other book collection:
--"The Prospectors"
--"The Bad Graft" - in part because it name checks several of my favorite places in the USA
--"The Gondoliers"
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The Wild Detectiv...: Karen Russell's Orange World 1 13 Sep 10, 2019 10:11AM  
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
“I needed a darkness that would have killed the others. And they needed me to keep it a secret from them.” 1 likes
“The heron is painted a somber Madonna blue, my only criticism of it. Turquoise would have been my choice, I tell him. "Turquoise is what that blue would look like if she divorced the night and went on a fabulous vacation.” 0 likes
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