The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

Literary libations: Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Read this collection of oddities with a spritely limoncello, inspired by the title’s first short about this place.
(If that doesn’t make you long for an Italian vacation then it’s because you live there – jerk.)
Warning: This will make you thirst, not for blood per se (unless that’s your thing), but for something–something you may not know you want, something that may be outside your grasp, which is pretty much this collection in a nutshell . . .
Karen Russell, of Swamplandia fame, has a twisted sense of humor. Actually, it’s not even a sense of humor, it’s just twisted storytelling.
And I love it.
The title short story, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, is the tale of a lonely vampire seeking solace in a near mythical fruit. The magical lemons grown in Sorrento are the only thing that satiates a vampire’s thirst–even if it’s only temporary–and the pair of vampires that take refuge there are quite a dysfunctional pair. Clyde, who tells the story, spends most days alone while his wife bunkers down in a cave on the hill. Poor Clyde is too scared to spread his wings and fly anymore, but that doesn’t prevent his wife from spreading hers and preferring solitude to his company.
The story is too delicious to give away, as are all the shorts in the collection. I particularly loved Reeling for the Empire, heavy in emancipation,and The New Veterans with its themes of empathy and sympathy. Others, like Proving Up, depressed and confused me (in fact, if you can explain it to me, I’d appreciate it–also, it made me want to drink whiskey, so explain that one, cowboy).
Overall, it’s a lovely collection, albeit bizarre, with something everyone can connect to. (Seriously, if you connected to Proving Up, I really need you to explain because WTF.) I highly recommend it, just as I would a multivitamin, on a one-a-day regimen, anything more and the Twilight Zone-ishness of it all will go right to your head. I mean it–one a day!  Truly, I think the nuances of the characters and each of their stories will be lost in a lemon grove vortex in Italy if you try to indulge them all in a single sit-down.
In closing, God bless the Italians. I really think they’re genius.
I used this recipe for my homemade limoncello.
Thank me later, at least for the beverage inspiration.


Literary Libations is a monthly post where Amanda pairs a book with a beverage (it may be beer, wine, a cocktail–or it may have nothing at all to do with alcohol).  Some may even include recipes. So, keep an eye out near the end of each month.


  1. This one is definitely on my list – I love a good short story collection

  2. You know, you’ve got to wonder about authors who write bizarre pieces. Do they understand their writing? Or are they just playin’ with us?

  3. I hope they’re kinda messin’ with us, too!

    Except Kafka.

    He was batsh!t crazy.

    And if you’re wondering what you pair with his short stories, it’s Nyquil.

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