Karen Russell Archive

Parenthood Fear in Orange World and Other Stories and Small Animals

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I love my son in a way that is so deep and fierce to be fundamentally at odds with the assumption that I’d be careless with him. I would breastfeed the devil, appease the wolf. But I know that even if I do, I am powerless against so much.

The Art of Lying

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As any reader knows, the best storytellers are the best liars. Karen Russell, master of magical realism, has time and again proved her abilities—most recently, in her new collection, a book.

Mystery, Adventure, and Coming of Age

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Lore Segal’s “Dandelion” and Karen Russell’s “The Bad Graft” are two expedition stories set in vastly different worlds.

Karen Russell and the Art of Discomfort

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Without the draw of discomfort, horror wouldn’t be possible. Karen Russell uses different types of discomfort to shape her new short story, “Orange World,” in which Rae, an expectant mother with a high-risk pregnancy, makes a deal with the devil for the safety of her unborn child.

Review: TALES OF TWO AMERICAS edited by John Freeman

Tale of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation  Edited by John Freeman Penguin; Sept 2017 252 pp; $17 Buy: paperback | eBook Reviewed by Anne Kniggendorf In his collection of 36 essays, poems, and stories entitled Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided

Launching

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Today, my first book launches. It’s kind of a wonderful word, launch: such propulsive force in its sound. Such muscular, fearless leaping. To mark the occasion, I thought I’d take a look at launchings of various kinds in literature. Not gradual beginnings, not slow evolutions into different forms, but sudden

Frontload the Strangeness: On Mark Slouka’s “Dog”

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It seems that every book I’ve read recently has a talking animal in it. A new favorite is Max Porter’s novel, which begins with a protagonist opening the door to find a life-sized crow on his doorstep. The bird picks the man up, cradles him in his wings.

Lilies in the Yard: On Getting Away

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I reread Sylvia Plath this summer on a fairly remote island off Ireland’s Connemara coast. Plath had been there once in September of 1962. She and Ted Hughes accepted an invitation from the Irish poet, Richard Murphy, to visit him at his home in the country’s heralded west.

Five Fabulist Sentences

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As a reader, I’m a sentence-collector: for their sound, and also for the fascination of inspecting one small, discrete piece of something and seeing what it has to say about the whole.

We Have Something to Say

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Inside most classrooms lives a beast, many-eyed. If you’ve been a student in a classroom, especially in those early grades when a year lasts an eon, you’ve been part of this beast. You saw your elementary-school teachers with a collective, sharpened vision (their combovers, fluffy perms, paunches, thick, magnifying