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St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves…
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St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006)

by Karen Russell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
The goods: strong metaphors, great stories, strong characterization

The bads: strong metaphors, great stories , strong characterization

You will either love her or hate her. In today's world of quick-and-easy fiction vs. things-you-have-think-about fiction, she falls somewhere in the middle, but closer to things-you-have-to-think-about. ( )
  veranasi | Jan 17, 2014 |
This is a simply-told but visually vibrant collection of coming-of-age stories, enhanced with fantastical elements that mix the confusions of childhood with the confusions of ghost stories, myths, and magic. The stories are all thematically similar -- a young girl or boy must leave their childhood comfort zone to confront a bizarre element of adulthood. But the individual settings of each story are creative and strange, mostly in the realm of magical realism but balanced enough to feel relatable. (Not quite on the over-the-top dream logic level of my favorite short story writer, Kelly Link.)

I thought the strongest story was the titular "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves", in which the all-human children of a werewolf pack are taken in to learn how to integrate into society. Maybe it stuck out especially because it's one of the only stories with plot progression that leads to a clear ending. Many of the stories here have emotional arcs moreso than story arcs -- they're like a vivid memory that you know was a turning point in your impression of the world, but you sense that if you explained it to someone else it wouldn't necessarily be clear what the point was. I sometimes prefer a more structured story, but once you get used to this style it becomes easier to accept.

My personal favorite was "From Children's Reminisces of the Westward Migration", in which a young boy and his family travel west seeking a better life, but encounter some prejudice from their fellow travelers towards the boy's father, who is a Minotaur. It's almost natural to imagine a child seeing their father as a mythic figure, pulling the family's wagon with his own strength, so it's interesting to see this idea stretched to its literal limits. The fantastic elements of the stories are all like this -- at face value they're strange, but in the back of your mind they make perfect sense. ( )
1 vote thatpirategirl | Jan 16, 2014 |
The stories don't have endings, and only a few of the not-endings were done well. The rest just seem unfinished.
The title story is fantastic, but I don't care for many of the rest. ( )
  DeFor | Nov 28, 2013 |
A completely weird and wonderful collection of stories. A fantastic precursor to the brilliant Swaplandia! Russell's spare prose dredges up the most surreal and gritty parts of the imagination then brings them into an achingly real focus. Ghost lovers, ice skating orangutans, lycanthropic children turned debutantes, children and adults all lost in their own sorrows, failures, and remembrances. These characters for all their strangeness could be your neighbors, your friends, your family, or even you, all blown out of proportion until only the oddest and most startling qualities remain. ( )
  JessicaReadsThings | Nov 12, 2013 |
Loved this book. It's a gem. I try to convince all of my teacher friends to integrate these stories into their syllabi. Although it doesn't take much convincing because these stories are so rich. They manage to be both heartbreaking and hilarious.

Russell has a very strong and unique voice that you can't help but admire. While her stories are based in a surreal world, her storytelling is so smooth and the characters so much like ourselves that you can't help but go along with it. Be warned, this is the kind of surrealism that will occasionally kick you in the gut. Russell's world seems significantly distanced from the real, but her prose are so strong that you'll be swept up in the new worlds she creates. That is, until she slyly turns the mirror back on you, your world, and the humanity you share it with.

Give her a try and allow yourself to buy into her world for a bit. I promise you--it's worth it. Start with the title story or "Out to Sea." My other favorites are "The City of Shells" and "the Star Gazer's Log of Summer-Time Crime."

"The Star Gazer's Log of Summer-Time Crime" would pair well with Sherman Alexie's often-challenged, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. And "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" works well with William Golding's Lord of the Flies. ( )
1 vote Caitdub | Oct 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Narrated by strange, quiet children and nestled deep in the mystique of the Everglades, Karen Russell’s stories are unnerving, darkly funny, and immensely enjoyable. Their standard recipe takes a common coming-of-age theme—“my parents are lunatics,” “death is part of life,” “growing up is hard”—folds it into a surreal situation—“my dad is a Minotaur,” “I am trapped in a giant conch shell with a janitor,” “my 14 sisters and I were raised by werewolves and now nuns are trying to prepare us for life in polite society”—and tops it off with superb, efficient sentences.
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Russellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carson, Carol DevineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tan, VirginiaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307276678, Paperback)

A San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year

In these ten glittering stories, debut author Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here wolf-like girls are reformed by nuns, a family makes their living wrestling alligators in a theme park, and little girls sail away on crab shells. Filled with stunning inventiveness and heart, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves introduces a radiant new writer.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In these ten stories, Karen Russell takes us to the ghostly and magical swamps of the Florida Everglades. Here wolflike girls are reformed by nuns, a family makes their living wrestling alligators in a theme park, and little girls sail away on crab shells.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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