I love short stories. When I was in college, I fell in love with the form, and ultimately spent hours in the library tracking down anthologies and collections. These literary blips opened up my world, shining light on areas I knew nothing about and casting shadows over ideas I assumed I had figured out. They somehow managed this with only a fraction of the words used by their novel counterparts. Even today, this format still impacts me and, when I stumble across a great short story, I practically get goosebumps. So for this First Line Friday, here’s one of my favorite short beginnings.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove
In October, the men and women of Sorrento harvest the primofiore, or “first flowering fruit,” the most succulent lemons; in March, the yellow bianchetti ripen, followed in June by the green verdelli. In every season you can find me sitting at my bench, watching them fall. Only one or two lemons tumble from the branches each hour, but I’ve been sitting here so long their falls seem contiguous, close as raindrops. My wife has no patience for this sort of meditation. “Jesus Christ, Clyde,” she says. “You need a hobby.”
Title: Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Author: Karen Russell
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Classification: Magical Realism, Short Stories
Note: First Line Fridays is a feature hosted by Hoarding Books. Be sure to check out their weekly post to find other participants and some great first lines.