Ghost lovers, abandoned theme parks and teenage alligator wranglers. These are just a few of the many odd delights the amazingly talented Karen Russell conjures in the masterful Southern Gothic, Swamplandia! Not since Geek Love has a novel painted such a luscious portrait of family life in the rich, seedy underground of B-rated, sideshow entertainment.

The swampy smell of decay sticks to these pages. Dreams spoil in the unforgiving sun. People die, cruelly young, or else linger indefinitely in a limbo of demented obsolescence. Supernatural forces lurk in the margins. It is a treacherous journey into the dark heart of the Sunshine State; the sparkling jewels of Ms. Russel’s simile-studded prose, the only light to see.


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