11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Wildly imaginative and quirky,
This review is from: Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories (Hardcover)
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Brief summary and review, no spoilers.
This short story collection is eclectic and diverse, covering a range of genres and locales and set in different periods of time. The most prevalent genre is that of horror and magical realism, but don't let that turn you off if you are not a fan of either.
Summary by story, again no spoilers so brief:
Vampires in the Lemon Grove - about an aging vampire as he looks back on his life and looks ahead to his future. He is living in a lemon grove and has grown complacent and somewhat disillusioned. What does that mean for him and his vampire wife and what does that say about life?
Reeling for the Empire - a group of young Japanese women from varying backgrounds become "reelers" of silk. What exactly does that mean and where did they come from? And more importantly, what does the future hold for them. A tale of horror that will stay with you.
The Seagull Army Descends of Strong Beach 1979 - one of my favorite stories. This is about a troubled and kind teenage boy who loves his beloved and popular older boyfriend's girlfriend. How does he deal with this and his own mentally unhinged mother and how does finding a mysterious seagull's nest change his life? There is a twist of sorts at the end of this story that had me utter, "wow" out loud...
Proving Up - the story of an 11 year old boy living in the drought-striken prarie of decades past. He must travel alone so meet up with a mysterious and elusive Inspector who has the power to grant them their homestead. The boy must show them he has a cherished window - that is necessary to get legal title of their homestead. But who is this Inspector and how did the boy's father get this window? This is a good old-fashioned horror tale mixed in with a coming-of-age story as well.
The Barn at the End of Our Term - Talk about an imagination. This story takes place mainly in a barn on a farm and is narrated by ex-president Rutherford B. Hayes. Only the time setting appears to be the present (or close to it) and the narrator (Rutherford B. Hayes) is a horse. He is in the barn with 11 other ex-presdients - also horses - as they try to figure out why they are there and how they can escape. I had a lot of fun with this story as well as an ending that made you think about what it all means.
Dougbert Shackleton's Rules for Antarctic Tailgating - I can't give away much in this story and it's best read and the truth of what's really happening discovered as you go along. In brief - it's about the competition between various teams in a tailgating match held near the South Pole.
The New Veterans - a masseuse who works to help veterans with massage therapy discovers that she can manipulate one traumatized vet's back tattoo - and in doing so she can change his memories. But is that the right thing to do? And what affect does this have on her?
The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis - some young boys discover a bizarre scarecrow on a tree in their favorite stomping grounds. Only the scarecrow looks like a kid they used to know, Eric Butis, who was bullied and mistreated by these boys. The story is told from the point of view of one of these boys - a young man name Larry who had a secret story of his own about Eric. This horror story is about bullies and brutality but also redemption as well.
I am not normally a big fan of short stories but I really liked these. I was a big fan of Karen Russell's novel Swamplandia! and I think if you enjoyed that book, you would enjoy this as well. The writing is wonderful and engaging and the stories are just so imaginative and full of twists.