Indie Fixx Book Club: Swamplandia! Book Review

indie fixx book club

Heather McCaw is a visual artist and occasional art writer with an eclectic background in painting, newspaper editing, English literature, and Middle Eastern studies. She runs her own blog and has her own Etsy shop and she shares a review for Swamplandia! for a long overdue installment of the Indie Fixx Book Club. Get in touch with me if you want to contribute to the Book Club by writing a post. xoxo – jen!

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I think everyone should read Karen Russell’s novel Swamplandia! Especially read this book if you are a child of the eighties or have ever had the privilege of visiting an old Florida mom-and-pop tourist trap. This book breaks new ground using magical realism to explore a forgotten pocket of the American experience. Thirteen-year-old Ava is a member of the “Bigtree” tribe whose spunky Florida island theme park, “Swamplandia!” is in steady decline. Ava is determined to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a great alligator wrestler, but larger forces are at work, eventually leading her on an unforgettably surreal and transformative journey.

Tragedy, violence, humor, and folksy charm intertwine like so many mangrove roots in this complex but riveting narrative full of rich description and mythological overtones. Read this book and you will never forget the Seth of Seths (the granddaddy of all the Bigtree alligators) or how you inwardly chuckled every time the name Swamplandia! is mentioned in the text, exclamation point and all, even in the middle of a sentence. Also, read this book because it was screwed out of the Pulitzer Prize for which it was short-listed. No book was awarded this year, apparently a sign of deadlock on the committee. Nevertheless, Swamplandia! is a masterpiece and deserves recognition as such.

One thought on “Indie Fixx Book Club: Swamplandia! Book Review

  • April 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks for the review! This has been on my ‘must-read’ list for what seems to be forever. Sounds like a great summer read:D

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