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Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries)


Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover


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Average customer rating based on 29 comments:

alibeale, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by alibeale)
this is the kind of book that is a pleasure to begin reading - you know you are in the hands of a good writer. the subject matter(crazy 'circus' family and their conflicts) is also a pleasure - i love idiosyncratic families, that are really like everyone else, only more so. kind of reminds me of john irving's fantastical morality plays, but not as preachy.
i also like books that are filled with details about stuff i don't know about - like florida geography and folklore.
i highly recommend this for anyone who likes a good yarn -
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leslee, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by leslee)
Savory and masterful, Swamplandia is like nothing I've ever read before, and I can't wait to read it again!
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Madam Pince, October 25, 2012 (view all comments by Madam Pince)
I expected so much more from this novel: magical realism, Southern gothic, the kitsch of Florida. Instead I found a story that started off powerfully, but straggled into a tired, ordinary tale that overstayed its welcome -- by the time Ava makes her trip into Hell, the reader is already there. I expected much better from the author of St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
h, August 27, 2012 (view all comments by h)
The writing here is beautiful, but there's something kitschy about the plot and characters. The magical can feel forced, quirky for its own sake. Read it for its creativity and prose.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Anna Shumaker, March 1, 2012 (view all comments by Anna Shumaker)
Some may have been dissuaded by the obscurity of alligator wrestling but that was the aspect that enticed me most and also disappointed me. The writing was nice and clear but I just wanted more circusy things, maybe I'm a needy reader
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
 1-5 of 29 next

Product Details

Russell, Karen
Mariner Books
Karen Russell
Racculia, Kate
Bruni, Sarah
Literature-A to Z
fiction;florida;alligators;everglades;ghosts;family;coming of age;novel;amusement parks;magical realism;swamp;death;alligator wrestling;contemporary fiction;literary fiction;american;grief;theme parks;family relationships;rape;literature;contemporary;ment
fiction;florida;alligators;everglades;ghosts;family;coming of age;novel;amusement parks;magical realism;swamp;death;alligator wrestling;contemporary fiction;literary fiction;grief;american;theme parks;family relationships;rape;contemporary;literature;sibl
General Fiction
The Shining;Agatha Christie;Glee;upstate New York;music;high school band;murder;
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
A <br> <i>&#160;</i><br> &ldquo;[Russell&rsquo;s]
3 spot illustrations; 3 part opener illu
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Vintage Books - English 9780307276681 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Russell's debut novel is in a literary class of its own. Swamplandia! is a mystical, fascinating coming-of-age story told from the perspective of the charming 13-year-old Ava. A shabby tourist attraction in Florida and unpredictable family members flavor this highly imaginative novel.

"Staff Pick" by ,

I had never read a book about an alligator-wrestling theme park before, but, boy, did I ever love this one! Thirteen-year-old Ava is faced with the task of not only wrestling gators, but also of saving the theme park, her home, and her family. By turns hilarious, pensive, chilling, and redemptive, Swamplandia! starts out as a sort of swampy coming-of-age story, but, after wandering very far afield, ends up so much more. Truly wonderful.

"Review A Day" by , "Writer Karen Russell is on record stating that, much as she loves reading realist fiction, she couldn't 'write a moving tale about a family of struggling car salesmen in Detroit,' even if 'somebody held a gun to my head.'

'But a family of alligator wrestlers in a mythic swamp? That,' she continued, 'I can do.'

Now she has, in Swamplandia!, a weird and wonderfully inventive first novel that also happens to be a moving, very real tale about a struggling family." (Read the entire Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review)
"Review" by , "Ravishing, elegiac, funny, and brilliantly inquisitive, Russell's archetypal swamp saga tells a mystical yet rooted tale of three innocents who come of age through trials of water, fire, and air."
"Review" by , "Quirky, outlandish fiction: To say it's offbeat is to seriously underestimate its weirdness."
"Review" by , "Absolutely irresistible....A suspenseful, deeply haunted book....A marvel."
"Review" by , "[Russell] has thrown the whole circus of her heart onto the page, safety nets be damned....Russell has deep and true talent."
"Review" by , "Vividly worded, exuberant in characterization, the novel is a wild ride....This family, wrestling with their desires and demons...will lodge in the memories of anyone lucky enough to read Swamplandia!"
"Review" by , "The bewitching Swamplandia! is a tremendous achievement."
"Synopsis" by , "For its darkness and its glee, I loved this novel." &#8212;Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbras 24-Hour Bookstore A high school music festival goes awry when a young prodigy disappears from a hotel room that was the site of a famous murder/suicide fifteen years earlier, in a whip-smart novel sparkling with the dark and giddy pop culture pleasures of The Shining, Agatha Christie, and Glee
"Synopsis" by , A debut novel and quirky love story about the adventures and mutual rescue of an Iowan girl and a mysterious stranger who begins to cast her in the image of Spider-Man's first love.
"Synopsis" by ,
An offbeat love story about the adventures and mutual rescue of a young woman out of place in her hometown and a mysterious stranger who calls himself Peter Parker (and begins to cast her in the role of Spider-Manand#8217;s first sweetheart), The Night Gwen Stacy Died is about first loss, first love, and finding our real identities.

"A dreamy world where comic book characters and psychic visions are as real as teenage boredom and young love, Bruni's debut is a magical story, a white-knuckle thrill ride." and#8212;Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire

"The perspective shifts, slippery identities, and lurking weirdness in this book recall the peak moments of Kurosawa, Hitchcock, and Lynch. But to describe it in cinematic terms would risk slighting that bighearted, sneakily exhilarating voice that can finally be only the work of a masterful writer." and#8212;Sean Howe, author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

"Bruniand#8217;s fiercely smart and delectably unpredictable first novel delivers again and again that most sought-after shiver up the spine, the chill that comes when you realize the world you thought you knew and understood is newer and stranger than you ever dared imagine. A genuine page-turner." and#8212;Kathryn Davis, author of The Thin Place

"Mixed into this noveland#8217;s blustery atmosphere are gusts of contemporary masters, like Joy Williams, Lorrie Moore, Kelly Link, and Michael Chabon. This gave me the sort of reading experience I always hope for but almost never find: a world that somehow both resembles the one in which I live and is also unlike any other I've ever seen or read." and#8212;Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting

"A brave and bold new voice, Bruni takes us on an unexpected adventure of love and loss, of beginnings and ends, all the while showing us what it really means to be a hero." and#8212;Alison Espach, author of The Adults

"Synopsis" by ,
Winner of a 2015 Alex Award


“A deliciously dark confection of a novel, and one of the most thoroughly enjoyable books I’ve read in years.” — Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You


“Warm, entertaining and thoughtful, and a glorious celebration of music.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune


Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians have gathered at the Bellweather for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a blizzard is threatening to trap them all inside. When a young prodigy disappears from infamous room 712, the search for her entwines an eccentric cast of conductors and caretakers, teenagers on the verge and adults haunted by memories. A genre-bending page-turner, full of playful nods to pop-culture classics from The Shining to Agatha Christie to Glee, Bellweather Rhapsody is a winning new novel from a writer to watch.


“Funny and exuberant, twisty and captivating . . . For its darkness and its glee, I loved this novel.” — Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore


“A rollicking story . . . Racculia’s exuberant voice inspires laugh-out-loud moments while also bringing to life broken people who find solace in each other’s heartaches.” — Wisconsin State Journal

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