Lara's Reviews > Swamplandia!
I always admire well-constructed imaginary worlds that exist just shy of reality, and Karen Russell's short story collection showed she was an artist with a palette of the surreal. Her first novel fleshes out the Floridian setting with the clever rival theme parks Swamplandia! and World of Darkness, and the tragically loveable Bigtree family. There is one event in the book that, while not entirely unexpected, was jarring despite the overall shadowy mist that slinked between the humor, and I still have mixed feelings about the necessity of it. Aside from that, it was absorbingly unique, and at its core an exploration of different reactions to grief, the currency of secrets, and the meaning of family.
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