Southern Gothic With A Magical Twist: Swamplandia!

By Katy Kelleher

Set in the sparsely inhabited swamps of the Florida Everglades, Karen Russell's Swamplandia! is gorgeous entry into the American cannon. It is a strange book, but thanks to Russell's considerable talent, it is a rather lovely—if sometimes disturbing—read. The critically acclaimed novel feels deeply Southern Gothic, thanks in part to the subject matter: a family of alligator wrestlers in steep economic decline, their glory years behind them as the rest of America moves onward, distracted magpie-like by flashier, shinier attractions. Though this may sound depressing, the nove...

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