Vampires in the Lemon Grove

by Karen Russell


This story ended up being a bit of a let down. You can find this story both in The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008. The premise is about vampires, a sub-genre of horror that I have never really gotten into. Without really getting into their definition of vampires we have vampires that do things that others don’t typically do and it ended up being confusing. The vampire, with the help of his mate, discovers that sunlight does not hurt, that garlic has no effect, that sleeping in a coffin is optional. The vampires also discover that “blood does nothing” and so turn to alternative forms of nourishment, finally settling on sacred lemons grown in a church courtyard. Then his mate chooses to be a bat for awhile, trying out life without him and he is left with the lemons. So what do you do when life hands you lemons? Well, when you’re a vampire…

The story seemed a little muddy and confused and not sure what to do with the vampires when they had them. There seemed to be an overarching theme of only being something because someone says you are, about being one way for one person and another for a different person, and about falling out of love. It all was too much to cram into such a short story, with such an ill-defined world. I ended up just being confused and not getting very much out of the story at all.

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