“Vampires in the Lemon Grove” features eight stories that introduce vampires, silkworm-girls, ex-presidents and seagull armies. The stories talk about the dangerous practice of Antarctic tailgating, a massage therapist, and a scarecrow that troubles a group of young bullies. The stories are full of magic and myth, and they display the measure of the imagination of their author, Russell. The stories in the book include “The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979″, and “Proving Up.” Others are “The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis”, “Reeling for the Empire”, and “The New Veterans” among other stories.
Although individual stories appear to suffer, the author of the stories does good work in treating the stories as a whole. Every story is linked to the others by referencing the predecessors in some ways. While the themes are simple when they are alone, they contradict and build upon each other. The author of the stories presents the themes in a more interesting way than when they could be alone. In the title story, two vampires in an Italian lemon grove find their long-time marriage tested when a partner becomes fearful of flying (Russel 6). Russell is very imaginative since she can set a story in both urban and rural settings.
The stories in the collection are built from puzzle pieces. Every story is simple and has simpler plots than any other story. However, every story suffers the same error: underdeveloped characters. Although the stories have different subjects, most of them share the same dramatic path. When the stories are read as a collection, they transform into a story that is organized and has well-arranged themes.
Russell, Karen. Vampires in the Lemon Grove. 2013 Online