Sophie's Reviews > Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
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's review
Oct 04, 12

I'm not going to lie, I cried a little.


"The Beginning of the End can feel a lot like the middle when you are living in it."

"The camera pulled back to reveal imbricating parking lots, a whole spooling solar system of parking lots."

"...the alligator had all the real advantages; that an alligator can hoard its violence for millions and millions of years."

"The Chief had long ago taught me a Bigtree strategy called "peacocking weakness."

"Several boxes of our favorite mainland cereal, Peanut Butter Boos."

"Inside the print was so tiny -- in places it was almost impossible to read -- and Ossie said this was because each chapter had been written as a whisper to the reader."

"In fact, I was discovering all sorts of beliefs and skepticisms turning like opposite gears inside me, and little drawers of hopes and fears I had forgotten to clean out."

"You can't boss love, kids."

"The fan was blowing at the Chief's headdress, flattening every feather so that they waved in place, like a school of fishes needling into a strong current."

"Ossie was like an aquarium when I came to other people's secrets."

"The rats and fish ate the small golden crickets, and the crickets seemed to live on air and chirpy fear..."

"He backed away from this thought and let it hang there, a Monet picture, beautifully out of focus."

" Haunted a frantic voice in me said, haunted, but my hands disagreed with this hysterical lady: everything I touched here confirmed itself as solidly cloth or wood or rope."

"I peered through the porthole: there was the sun beaming down at us like a dim-witted aunt. There were the same oblivious trees."

"No pregnancies! No stowaway futures!"

"Happiness could be felt as a pressure, too, Louis realized, more hard-edged and solid than longing, even."

"He touched our wall the way a child might touch the flesh of a strange animal, flattening his hand against the polished grain of the wood and frowning at it for a moment."

"Often Kiwi felt like he was eavesdropping on the conversations of his own body. committee meetings of muscles and ligaments that didn't seems to include him."

"They eyed each other over the beet-orange covers of their books with the perfect contempt of equals."

"Okay, pal. Up, up, and such."

"I tugged on my shoelaces like tiny reins, embarrassed."

"He crouched inches from my bedroll, staring right into my face -- he reminded me of a tourist touching his nose to the ferry porthole, his eyes coming slightly unglued and his breath on me."

"Stoplights swayed yellow and green over the Loomis intersections, like air plants, the mainlanders' epiphytes."

"How strange, Kiwi thought, that you could want so badly to insert a part of your anatomy inside someone who you hated."

"weepy-eyed with windows"

"Lately Kiwi felt like an understudy in how own life on the mainland, stumbling over his lines and missing important cues and waiting with less and less patience for the real actor to show up."

"Sometimes you would prefer a mystery to remain red-gilled and buried inside you, Kiwi decided, alive and alive inside you."

"He wouldn't look at me at all, not at my face, and this made me feel a little lonely, as if we were rooms away from one another."

"When you are a kid, you don't know yet that a secret, like an animal, can evolve. Like and animal, a secret can develop a self-preserving intelligence. Shaglike, mute and thick, a knowledge with a fur: your secret."

"Inside me these words took on the dimensions of rooms."

"'Thinking' felt like trying to get a river to flex."

"One time he'd called Deemer a troglodyte but his delivery had been tentative and way, way too slow, as if the insult were a fork tenderly entering a steak."

"My own thoughts were like bad food..."

"'Who are you?' I said, although I'd meant to say 'thank you.'"


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