Marco Kaye's Reviews > Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
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's review
Nov 23, 2011

it was amazing
Read in August, 2011

No one writes sentences quite like Karen Russell. They are charming, mysterious, and miles from normal. Here, she vividly describes a meal made by Chief Bigtree, the wayward father of the book: “Tiny broccoli florets floated in the gluey cheese like a forest consumed by lava." The sky, “yawned blue at us, then disappeared.” Another one of my favorite sky sentences, “A huge hole in the middle of the ceiling opened into the clear night sky: it looked as if some great predator had peeled the thatched roof back, sniffed once, and lost interest.”

Swamplandia is funny too, especially in Kiwi's sections, the brother who shares the narration with his sister Ava. The friends that gather around him, Vijay in particular, provide lots of laughs. “It’s not even that hard supposedly,” Vijay says when Kiwi is offered a chance to learn to fly, “It’s like driving a bus of the sky.”

It’s no wonder that HBO wants to make a series of Swamplandia! The characters are vividly drawn, and the setting is a character in and of itself. I just hope that the writers and producers retain Russell’s voice, and that Chief Bigtree is played by Bill Murray.
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Comments <span class="mediumText">(showing 1-3)</span>

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Starasia her gorgeous figurative language is the best part of this book.

Patrick Sprunger "Or, failing those ambitious emotions perhaps (Kiwi and the Chief) could at least achieve a food truce, the picnic suspension of oedipal feeling that permits the generations to love each other at family reunions?" Talk about sentences! How does a female writer even get that tension that exists between father and son? Incredible.

Kathy Turner I hope HBO gets Russell to re-work the ending - very prosaic and 'patched on' - what a pity in such a brilliantly written book.

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