Carolyn's Reviews > Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
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's review
Jul 13, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: adventure, contemporary, fiction, kids-eye-view, nature, wordplay, teaching
Read from July 11 to 13, 2012

Fantastic writing. Some of the passages in this book are stunningly lyrical.

But 4 stars instead of 5 because a) I thought the ending was very abrupt and very pat -- avoiding resolving almost ALL the reader's questions. When I realized how close I was to the end when some pretty major things still feel very much in medias res, I felt like I knew already that the ending wouldn't be very satisfying; b) sometimes the writing was beautiful and lyrical and stunning, but not to the point...there were a few places in the middle where you just sort of get lost in the descriptions before realizing there's no plot point attached to them.

And while I was certainly invested in most of the characters, I didn't outright fall head over heels for any of them.

A great book to pull passages from for teaching, however, ESPECIALLY when attempting to teach kids how to use and/or create metaphors without falling back on cliche. This is truly a tour de force when it comes to the CRAFT of descriptive language.

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Reading Progress

07/12/2012 page 260
82.0% "The imagery I this book is beautiful--wonderful language choices. Many new favorite metaphors"

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kristin Boldon I think the author was deliberately leaving some of those questions to be answered by the reader, a la Atwood. Was the son a genius, or a weirdo? Was the middle daughter psychic, or hormonal?

I did love Ava. And I pictured her dad as Edward James Olmos.

Carolyn Oh I would agree that she was leaving questions to be answered -- but I'm not thinking about the kinds of things you mention (I think those SHOULD be left to the reader).

I meant more mundane things.

Regardless I definitely felt like it Just.Ended. Without necessarily a good reason for that to be where/when it stopped. Felt a little plotless at the end.

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