Summary and book reviews of Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell

Orange World and Other Stories

by Karen Russell

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell X
Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell
  • Critics' Opinion:

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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2019, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2020, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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About this Book

Book Summary

A stunning new collection of short fiction that showcases Karen Russell's extraordinary, irresistible gifts of language and imagination.

Karen Russell's comedic genius and mesmerizing talent for creating outlandish predicaments that uncannily mirror our inner in lives is on full display in these eight exuberant, arrestingly vivid, unforgettable stories. In "Bog Girl", a revelatory story about first love, a young man falls in love with a two thousand year old girl that he's extracted from a mass of peat in a Northern European bog.  In "The Prospectors," two opportunistic young women fleeing the depression strike out for new territory, and find themselves fighting for their lives.  In the brilliant, hilarious title story, a new mother desperate to ensure her infant's safety strikes a diabolical deal, agreeing to breastfeed the devil in exchange for his protection.

The landscape in which these stories unfold is a feral, slippery, purgatorial space, bracketed by the void—yet within it Russell captures the exquisite beauty and tenderness of ordinary life. Orange World is a miracle of storytelling from a true modern master.

Excerpted from "The Prospectors"

The entire ride would take eleven minutes. That was what the boy had promised us, the boy who never showed.

To be honest, I hadn't expected to find the chairlift. Not through the maze of old-growth firs and not in the dwindling light. Not without our escort. A minute earlier, I'd been on the brink of suggesting that we give up and hike back to the logging road. But at the peak of our despondency we saw it: the lift, rising like a mirage out of the timber woods, its four dark cables striping the red sunset. Chairs were floating up the mountainside, forty feet above our heads. Empty chairs, upholstered in ice, swaying lightly in the wind. Sailing beside them, just as swiftly and serenely, a hundred chairs came down the mountain. As if a mirror were malfunctioning, each chair separating from a buckle-bright double. Nobody was manning the loading station; if we wanted to take the lift we'd have to do it alone. I squeezed Clara's hand.

A party awaited us at ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Karen Russell has a tremendous gift for crafting uncanny, through-the-looking glass worlds that are so much like our own, with a surrealist edge...Even if you're not ordinarily attracted to books with supernatural elements, Russell is so effective in humanizing this theme...continued

Full Review (585 words).

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(Reviewed by Lisa Butts).

Media Reviews

The New York Times
Russell creates fully realized worlds. Her writing is particular and alive. Her imagination spills over the sink and hits the backsplash.

Lit Hub
Amidst the leading pack of talents Karen Russell writes the most like she's on fire, as in: this close to revelations. Orange World is her best collection yet. Her imagination's baroque syntax has been planed down to the absolute essentials, allowing the power of her vision to speak for itself...This is prophetic work written with clarifying fury.

NPR
Russell is one of the most original American authors working today. She’s also one of the best. Orange World is a thing of beauty, a stunning collection from one of the most brilliant literary minds of her generation.

The Washington Post
The must-read short-story collection of the summer… Orange World makes me want to shout with joy. Russell’s ease with her material, her sheer glee on the page, shines through in each piece…We’re in the hands of a master.

Wall Street Journal
[A] masterpiece… Incandescent… horror always cohabits with humor… [A] superb collection.

The Boston Globe
Russell is also the greatest user of verbs in American fiction since Annie Dillard… In these stories, though, Russell reveals we don’t have to be silent. We can shout as does this book. Look for it, with its color, it won’t be hard to find. It’s a beacon.

San Francisco Chronicle
Marvelous… Startlingly inventive stories which confirm Russell’s status as master of the slipstream.

Library Journal
Each story is impeccably constructed and stunningly imagined, though not all of them land emotionally. Regardless, this is a wonderfully off-kilter collection.

Publishers Weekly
The inimitable Russell returns with a story collection that delights in the uncanny...Each story is impeccably constructed and stunningly imagined, though not all of them land emotionally. Regardless, this is a wonderfully off-kilter collection.

Booklist (starred review)
Virtuoso Russell, gifted with acute insights, compassion, and a daring, free-diving imagination, explores the bewitching and bewildering dynamic between 'the voracious appetite of nature and its yawning indifference' and humankind's relentless profligacy and obliviousness.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Eight crisp stories that will leave longtime fans hungry for more ... A momentous feat of storytelling in an already illustrious career.

Author Blurb Louise Erdrich
A feast of invention and a fun house of surprising wisdom, Orange World contains a ghost-ship lodge, tourist trade in a post-apocalyptic drowned city, a tornado farm, a local succubus. Karen Russell moves from the farcical to the forbidden with tender conviction. Don't miss this book of marvels!

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Korčula: Past and Present

Orange World and Other Stories Korčula is a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea off the Dalmation coast, and the setting of Karen Russell's story "Black Corfu" from her story collection Orange World. It's the second most populated island in the Adriatic (after Krk), and it has a long, storied history of being occupied by various superpowers reaching back to the ancient world.

The earliest known inhabitants of Korčula were the Illyrians, a group of Indo-European tribes who lived across the western Balkans and subsisted on farming and fishing. The island was colonized by Greeks in the 6th century BC, who called it Black Corfu—Black for its dense woods, and Corfu for their island of origin. Greeks and Illyrians coexisted in separate areas of the ...

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