“Any adult who has spent significant time with young people knows these feelings—the loss of a childhood self, the urge to save a teenager from your own mistakes. We Show What We Have Learned is full of these moments of doubling and their accompanying ache.”
Editor’s Note: The Hopwood Room Roundtable is a weekly event in which visiting writers of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing discuss their work and the writing life with the University of Michigan’s student body, faculty, and the local literary community. Inside the Hopwood Room, friends and colleagues caught up over coffee and cookies, discussing avalanche survival tactics and personal rules about never living in alligator-populated states, awaiting the main event: an in-the-flesh Genius. When Karen Russell—novelist, short story writer, MacArthur Genius Fellow, and probably the most easy-to-be-around and gracious person you’ll ever encounter—entered the room, which was […]
In her latest collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Knopf), Russell traffics in her now-trademark wit. In eight tightly drawn stories, she imagines fantastical worlds that stem from the bleakest realities.
In her first novel, Swamplandia! (Knopf, 2011), acclaimed short story writer Karen Russell (St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves) renders a highly specific shoebox-world of wonder and mystery. Set in the Florida swamps, largely within a fictional alligator theme park, the sun rises and sets with her lush yet economical descriptions and poignant characterizations of the 14-year-old protagonist, Ava, and her rapidly dissolving family.
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