9780307276681

Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries)

Russell, Karen

ISBN 10: 0307276686 / 0-307-27668-6
ISBN 13: 9780307276681
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2011
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
A New York Times Best Book of the Year
One of Granta's Best Young American Novelists
Selected for the New Yorker's 20 Under 40
Nominated for the Orange Prize


Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.

Review:
Guest Reviewer: Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of twelve novels, including the bestselling Star Island, Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy, and Lucky You, and three bestselling children’s books: Hoot, Flush, and Scat. He also writes a weekly column for The Miami Herald.

This was the first time I’ve read Karen Russell’s work, and I was dazzled. It’s very rare, among the tonnage of manuscripts and galleys that land upon one’s desk, to come across a young novelist so inventive and versatile, yet so thoroughly in control. Also, I’m a sucker for any plot line that features man-eating reptiles.

Swamplandia! is the story of Ava Bigtree, a 12-year-old alligator wrestler who embarks on an improbable journey through the mangrove wilderness of southwest Florida in search of a lost sister. Young Osceola has run off with a ghost-figure named Louis Thanksgiving, and only Ava knows where to look for them, dreading what she might find. Passages of this fine novel call to mind Conrad, Garcia Marquez and even – for those who have kids – Judy Blume. There’s not a forgettable character in the cast, from Ava’s flamboyant father, Chief Bigtree, who runs the family’s failing tourist trap, to the bedraggled and cryptic Bird Man, who guides Ava on her harrowing trip.

Having spent many days in the Ten Thousand Islands, I was enchanted by Russell’s dream-like descriptions of the tangled and serpentine creeks, the funky and exotic flora, the long stare of circling buzzards. Her prose is both shimmering and stark: “A huge hole in the middle of the ceiling opened onto a clear night sky; it looked as if some great predator had peeled the thatched roof back, sniffed once and lost interest.”

Or the way she describes a “cauldron” of moths with “sapphire-tipped wings, a sky-flood of them…They had fixed wings like sharp little bones, these moths, and it was astonishingly sad when you accidentally killed one.”

I can’t recall the last time I came across a character who shines as brightly as Ava, or a first novel that made such a rich and lasting impression.

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Russell, Karen
ISBN 10: 0307276686
ISBN 13: 9780307276681
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Book Description: Vintage, 2011. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Praise for Karen Russells Swamplandia! Karen Russell is young and talented, and has been given just about every age-appropriate honor there is-Best Young American Novelists, 20 Under 40, 5 Under 35. With her debut novel, though, shes leaving the kids table forever. The bewitching Swamplandia! is a tremendous achievement for anyone, period. . . . Effortless prose and [a] small, beautifully drawn cast of characters . . . as densely organic as the swamp in which it is set. -Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly, A If no such thing as the Great Floridian Novel already existed, consider it done. Karen Russell, anointed by Granta and The New Yorker as one our most brilliant young writers, fulfills the promise of her fiercely original 2006 story collection [with] a novel of idiosyncratic and eloquent langua hyperreal, Technicolor settings; and larger-than-life characters who are nonetheless heartbreakingly vulnerable and keenly emotional. Its a tour de force. . . . Near-hallucinatory in its intensity-not only in its dark, sad, enthralling plot, but in its descriptions of the swamp: gorgeous, precise, lush poetry. The book becomes sharply suspenseful as Russells fearless eye and voice go deep into the swamps of adolescence, of what it is to lose a mother, and of Florida itself. -Kate Christensen, Elle Karen Russell is a fine purveyor of the unexpected, humorous and razor-sharp description . . . Exactly often enough, her vivid description gives way to a deftly inserted truth. . . . Swamplandia! flashes brilliantly-holographically-between a surreal tale brimming with sophisticated whimsy and an all-too-realistic portrait of a quaint but dysfunctional family under pressure in a world that threatens to make them obsolete. . . . Ava is a true contemporary heroine and not easily forgotten. -Pam Houston, More This impressively self-assured debut novel may bet the best book youll ever read about a girl trying to save her familys alligator-wrestling theme park. -Karen Holt, O, The Oprah Magazine Winningly told . . . rambunctious. -Megan OGrady, Vogue Russell does what she does best here-presenting a world we recognize and imbuing it with magical mysticism-and does it brilliantly. The surreal is never a prop, and theres a heart to the writing that goes beyond the sensational. The novels backbone is in the nuanced intricacies of its characters, in their hopes and fears whether tangible or touchingly na ve. . . . Russells sentences are well-crafted miniatures building to create a world so enchanted that we are both comforted and devastated to realize that its our own. Swamplandia! is a dizzying cocktail of heartbreak and humor, a first novel worthy of celebration. -Laurie Ann Cedilnik, Bust [A] cunning first novel. . . . Russell''s willingness to lend flesh and blood to her fanciful, fantastical creations gives this spry novel a potent punch and announces an enthralling new beginning for a quickly evolving young author. -Publishers Weekly (starred review) Brilliant, funny, original . . . also creepy and sinister . . . Karen Russells Swamplandia! is every bit as good as her short stories promised it would be. This book will not leave my mind. -Stephen King A wonderfully fertile novel by an unfairly talented writer. -Joseph ONeill, author of Blood-Dark Track: A Family History Karen Russells worlds, like her protagonists, are fierce and wondrous and hilarious and heartbreaking, and Swamplandia! features everything a reader could want, from bears with bad rhythm to Live Chicken Thursdays to as visceral and dazzling a portrait of south Floridas now almost destroyed wilderness as youre likely to read. But mostly its a gorgeous and wrenching portrait of sibling love in all its helpless and furious and panicked indefatigability, and of one girls determination to do what she can to hold whats left of her family together. -Jim Shepard, author of Like Youd Understand Anyway I would. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0307276686

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Book Description: Vintage, 2011. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. 1st Edition. Russell, Karen. SWAMPLANDIA! NY: Vintage Contemporaries, c2011. First printing. 400pp. 8vo. New trade paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 85240

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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. A New York Times Best Book of the Year One of Granta s Best Young American Novelists Selected for the New Yorker s 20 Under 40 Nominated for the Orange Prize Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava s mother, the park s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780307276681

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