About Karen RussellSee more books from this Author
“Swamplandia!” stays rooted in the Bigtree family’s emotional reality. Take away the wall-to-wall literary embellishments, and this is a recognizable story, if not a familiar one. But there’s no need to take those embellishments away. They are an essential, immensely enjoyableRead Full Review of Swamplandia! | See more reviews from NY Times
...while the novel deals in ghosts, whether actual ectoplasms or just unexorcisable memories, the characters, and their tale of family lost and found, remain triumphantly alive.Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
Despite all the charms of "Swamplandia!," pacing is a problem...Good short-story writers like Russell know how much depends on endings, those final few breaths of ineffable melancholy, but landing a novel requires something more.Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
Russell has perfected a tone of deadpan wit and imperiled innocence that I find deeply endearing, but readers allergic to self-consciously quirky characters should take precautions.Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
If given a choice between an inconsistent but passionate book like "Swamplandia!" and a more perfect and self-serious effort, I'd choose passion, the tightrope walk, the fearsome alligator wrestle. And I will read whatever Karen Russell writes in the future...Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
Russell's debut novel shines with the glow of the southern sun and the hope that we'll see Ava Bigtree again sometime soon.Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
Like any illusionist, Russell sometimes throws in a clunky trick...Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
It's difficult to make out whether Russell believes that children should hold fast to these habits or grow out of them quickly, and this uncertainty ultimately holds the grand success of Swamplandia! down, leaving the book to toe the line ever-so-slightly between thoughtful and perplexing.Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
Let Swamplandia! be an example that creativity and eccentricity do not necessarily keep a reader’s attention.Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
If you were to take the exuberantly fecund tropical paintings of Martin Johnson Heade and commission the ghost of Angela Carter to write a story based on them, you might very well end up with something approaching the garish and fierce beauty of “Swamplandia!”Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
But if you’re expecting...anything more than a handful of moments and a swampload of similes, go ahead and give this one a miss.Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
Swamplandia! suffers from a tonal disconnect, toggling between Ava’s tale...and Kiwi’s, a picaresque satire of modern excess. His coming of age suffers in comparison with the peril Ava faces in the Bird Man, the gators, and the scorching sun.Read Full Review of Swamplandia!
There’s no doubting the sheer talent of Swamplandia!’s 29-year-old author. Words and ideas seemingly pour from her inventive mind in a torrent. It’s Russell’s inner editor, however, that could benefit from assertiveness training.Read Full Review of Swamplandia! | See more reviews from National Post arts
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