Alison's Reviews > Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
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Aug 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: grad-school
Read from August 03 to 06, 2012

This is probably more of a 3.5 but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt.

In creativity, I'm not sure I've read anything so creative in awhile. It managed to combine a compelling plot with great character development, no small feat. She also had these really bright moments of figurative language. I thought that the chapters in first person from Ava's point of view worked the best. She did very well with Ava's introspective monologue.

The points I didn't like... There were some places to me where I couldn't figure out what was going on. There would be a word out of place or an ambiguous pronoun reference, places that disturbed the fluidity if e story, and I would get pulled out of the fictive world. I think in a story that is, for lack of a better word, so weird, readers really depend on the story being smooth, and there were just a few too many bumps for me.

Also, given then importance of the setting, I wish it would have felt a little more physical. I can tell you where everything took place, but I feel kind of lost in the world. I feel like it was half built. I can't decide if the author didn't describe it well enough, or if she just knew it so well that she glossed over it for the reader. There were times where I had to read passages over - where are we? What's going on? Again, that disturbed the fluidity of reading for me.

Then I also felt in a few places that she kept going when she could have let her language speak for itself. She probably could have tightened up the writing, and it would have been a little better. She had many great metaphors, but once in awhile she made comparisons that didn't ring true, or she kept going too long when she could have stopped after the first sentence, because it was so good. That's probably just a matter of her writing more and developing more.

It was such a promising book for a young writer tho. I think she's definitely on her way to a great career. I'd definitely read more from her.
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