Paperbacks: St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, by Karen Russell

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Russell's short fiction first appeared in The New Yorker when she was at university. This distinctive debut collection paints a mythic vision of smalltown life: a place where minotaurs live behind picket fences and werewolves pack their children off to school.

Florida is the setting for many stories, and the dangers of the deep are never far away. In "Ava Wrestles the Alligator", two sisters summer by a swamp; in "Haunting Olivia", a girl is swept out to sea on a giant shell. An instinctive writer with a gift for arresting prose, Russell specialisies in metamorphosis with a modern twist.