"I was thinking about this really kind of beautiful and naive faith people have that death is going to give them some kind of final answer, you know. Either there’s going to be, you know, whatever the answer is. Like: That’s it. The end. Or that there will be kind of a final reckoning. And I was just thinking about these poor guys who — it’s even more mystifying than their lives on this planet. And just the kind of arithmetic we’re doing all the time where we try to explain our present circumstances based on our past actions."
I loved Russell’s new collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove. The story here is about presidents reincarnated as horses in some kind of purgatory and is amazing as only Karen Russell can be. More of my thoughts at Everyday eBook and JennIRL gives it all the love at Tor.
"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.