"This is not exactly the fantastic made realistic or the realistic fantastic. It’s a story sure of itself in the frolic of its strangeness. Fiction is by definition unreal, and Russell takes this coldly awesome truth and enjoys fully the rebel freedom it confers. […] But Russell is no coy or mannered mistress of the freaky. Much of the pleasure in reading her comes from the wily freshness of her language and the breezy nastiness of her observations.” (via Joy Williams, ‘Vampires in the Lemon Grove,’ by Karen Russell - NYTimes.com)
I nabbed an ARC of this at the bookstore; I loved it. It has a surprising thread of horror (as in the genre) throughout, and seems more mature then her previous work. I think my favorite story in it is “Reeling for the Empire,” which provides the inspiration for the gorgeous illustration with this review.
What allows us to survive? To lose and then find ourselves? How do we learn to accept grief instead of permitting it to obliterate us? How can a young woman who describes herself as having a “hole in her heart” (a mother-shaped hole, I thought to myself) transform herself through solitude and high-octane risk and the comforts of literature (along the way she picked up books like “The Complete Stories” of Flannery O’Connor and J. M. Coetzee’s “Waiting for the Barbarians”) into a clearheaded, scarred, human, powerful and enormously talented writer who is secure enough to confess she does not have all the answers? (via Dani Shapiro, ‘Wild,’ a Hiking Memoir by Cheryl Strayed - NYTimes.com)
No, I will NOT stop posting about Wild, not quite yet, anyway. Also this is an excellent depiction of Monster, Cheryl’s backpack. There was an ad outside the new REI on Houston last month that claimed something like “Come find out how a 30-pound backpack can take the weight of the world off your shoulders” and every time I passed it was like, “Monster was WAY more than 30 pounds.”