12.21.2014

Swamplandia!

It's been a year of good reading overall. I loved reading Swamplandia! best.

What becomes of the family and the family-owned gator-wrestling theme park in the aftermath of tragedy? Three siblings take different paths. Ossie develops mystical powers. Kiwi ventures mainland to a rival tourist attraction called The World of Darkness. Ava schemes to win a wrestling competition, until she is drawn into a journey to the underworld.

Sign me up, please!

The narrative eventually follows Kiwi and Ava.  Ava's swamp scenes were more interesting to me, but there is great language used to describe Kiwi's encounters in Floridian suburbia:

  • "Every day, Kiwi's colleagues taught him what you could and could not say to another person here on the mainland. This was a little like having snipers tutor you on the limits of the prison yard."
  • "The two girls spent the whole ride whispering and doing horsey eye rolls and hand mannerisms in their mysterious female language. So far as Kiwi could tell, they managed to agree that Rollie, a mutual friend of theirs, was in fact a fat bitch and not their friend, and also that Enormous Gladys needed to get some self-esteem, stupid! But Kiwi assumed a second, secret conversation must be happening below this. Otherwise how to explain all the gesticulating? Wrists and elbows went flying through the air in some jujitsu of lady-empathy."
I saw echoes of my childhood in both the studious Kiwi and the imaginative Ava.
  • "It's a book for witches, Dad. And the underworld isn't heaven or hell, it's like a whole separate country. Like a, a Germany under the world."
  • "I was a fairy-minded kid, a comic book kid, and I had a bad habit of looking for augurs and protectors where there were none."
I enjoyed reading a book where characters set out on their quests in order to save their strange little family. "Mothers burning inside the risen suns of their children."

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