Illustration by Clifford Harper/agraphia.co.uk
What’s Vampires In the Lemon Grove all about?:
The title story from this collection by Karen Russell does what it says on the tin. That is, it is about a vampire. Who lives in a lemon grove. Clyde has given up his blood-thirsty days for love of his vampire wife Magreb who has never actually tasted blood, informing her husband that this thirst can be sated by digging his fangs into a lemon or three. Clyde has been painfully misled by traditional vampire mythology, so Magreb introduces him to a host of new wonders – he doesn’t have to sleep during the day, garlic holds no terrors etc. But is this enough for him where there is a chance he may lose her?
What did I think?:
I haven’t previously read any of Karen Russell’s work, although I have downloaded the critically acclaimed Swamplandia which is waiting patiently on my Kindle to be read. I have to admit, I was intrigued by this collection purely by the title of this first story, and although I wasn’t disappointed, the ending left me slightly bewildered. First of all however, this is a very quirky read, I loved the imaginative idea of vampires sucking on lemons to quench their desire for human blood! Our main character Clyde comes across as quite an honourable soul (or non-soul!), with his romantic notions of giving up blood once he meets the love of his life. As the story continues, we get the sense that Clyde is not fully happy, and is terrified of his wife leaving him. This is because every evening she morphs into a bat and spends the evenings up in the caves, while Clyde remains in his lemon grove. Unfortunately, Clyde has lost the ability to undergo any sort of metamorphosis, and will not set foot outside the lemon grove, separating himself from his wife, and leaving him desperately fed up.
So, something does eventually happen where Clyde must confront his demons, and I found this part quite exciting and enjoyable. As I mentioned earlier, the ending just didn’t sit right with me, perhaps I expected something different? Apart from that, it is quite a nice little story about love, hope and fear and I look forward to reading more from this collection.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY: A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes