HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Swamplandia!

by Karen Russell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,1772203,143 (3.34)1 / 429
Twelve year old Ava must travel into the Underworld part of the smamp in order to save her family's dynasty of Bigtree alligator wresting. This novel takes us to the swamps of the Florida Everglades, and introduces us to Ava Bigtree, an unforgettable young heroine. The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator wrestling theme park, formerly no. 1 in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava's mother, the park's indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost; and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, who dreams of becoming a scholar, has just defected to the World of Darkness in a last ditch effort to keep their family business from going under. Ava's father, affectionately known as Chief Bigtree, is AWOL; and that leaves Ava, a resourceful but terrified thirteen, to manage ninety eight gators as well as her own grief. Against a backdrop of hauntingly fecund plant life animated by ancient lizards and lawless hungers, the author has written a novel about a family's struggle to stay afloat in a world that is inexorably sinking.… (more)
Recently added byReneeLerner, private library, Chris_Allen, FusionLF, Gina_Price, hnewsom, Lahoori, larrybenfield
  1. 50
    Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (BeckyJG)
  2. 20
    Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (andomck)
    andomck: Swamps are crazy, man
  3. 20
    Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Replete with eccentric families and mythic overtones, these larger-than-life novels are exuberantly offbeat. Big Fish depicts a son's quest to know his dying (and lying!) father better, while Swamplandia! relates the struggle of two pre-teens to protect their family's alligator-wrestling theme park.… (more)
  4. 31
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (BeckyJG)
  5. 00
    Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (booklove2)
  6. 00
    Dogland by Will Shetterly (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Coming-of-age growing up in a weird little Florida theme park. Except it's dogs rather than alligators, and the fantastic elements are actually present rather than hinted at and then snatched away.
  7. 22
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (andomck)
    andomck: Both books have characters going from a somewhat dismal reality and escaping into an adventurous fantasy world.
  8. 00
    Run by Ann Patchett (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These character-driven novels share a theme of unconventional families coping with mothers taken by cancer. Russell's setting gives a strong sense of place in Florida, Patchett's an atmospheric Boston. Honest, thoughtful, thorough portrayals of complicated characters and relationships distinguish both.… (more)
  9. 00
    Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman (booklove2)
  10. 01
    Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (andomck)
  11. 01
    Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman (andomck)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 429 mentions

English (219)  French (1)  All languages (220)
Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
another in the recent series of bayou/delta/cypress/lumber country lit

updated April2, 2012
I don't know if I'm ever going to finish this! And I don't know why.
  flemertown | Jul 10, 2021 |
Adult fiction.

Gator Wonderland:
Three kids cope with park's demise.
Swallowed by Darkness? ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
I don't know how I feel about this book. It defied my expectations all the way through, and refused to be what I thought it would be. The writing is beautiful, and the characters and their world utterly believable.

I struggled through the first half before the story picked up, and then it slid into territories I'm not comfortable with. Trigger warning: rape. I feel like that aspect should be made clear before you start this book.

So, basically, I loved the writing, believed that characters and hated some of the story points. It's a conflicting experience, and not one I was expecting. ( )
  Craftini | Jun 19, 2021 |
A charming, compelling, and sadly tender coming-of-age story. It was much darker than I wanted or expected given the goofiness of the setting and characters, or the exclamation point in the title.

Novel words:
cocoplum: a tropical plant with an edible but nearly tasteless plum-like fruit
gastrolith: a small stone swallowed by a bird, reptile, or fish, to aid digestion in the gizzard
gharial: a very rare crocodile from the Indian subcontinent with a long thin snout. It is the longest extant crocodilian, growing up to 20 feet long.
lachrymose: tearful, weepy
melaleuca: a genus of myrtle tree with 300 species in it
otolith: tiny sac that connects an alligator's inner ear to its brain ( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
I'm very excited about this one. ( )
  mbellucci | Apr 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
Karen Russell, one of the New Yorker's 20 best writers under 40, is certainly very talented. She received wide acclaim for her first book, the story collection St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, which first introduced the Bigtree family in the story "Ava Wrestles the Alligator". This novel has already received great reviews in the US, and it's easy to see why. Many of her descriptions are quite dazzling. On the retirement boat, "The seniors got issued these pastel pajamas that made them look like Easter eggs in wheelchairs." In the swamp, "two black branches spooned out of the same wide trunk. They looked like mirror images, these branches, thin and papery and perfectly cupped, blue sky shining between them, and an egret sat on the scooped air like a pearl earring."

Over 300 pages, the density of the prose can become a bit exhausting, however, and Russell's ability to describe everything in minute and quirky detail is sometimes overwhelming.
 
So Ms. Russell has quite a way with words. She begins with the alligators’ “icicle overbites,” the visiting tourists who “moved sproingingly from buttock to buttock in the stands,” the wild climate (“Our swamp got blown to green bits and reassembled, daily, hourly”), and the Bigtrees’ various thoughts about the theme park’s gators, or Seths. Leaving the origin of that nickname as one of this novel’s endless lovely surprises, let’s just say that Chief Bigtree holds the reptiles in low regard. “That creature is pure appetite in a leather case,” he warns Ava. But when Ava tenderly adopts a newborn bright-red creature as her secret pet, she says, “the rise and fall of the Seth’s belly scales could hypnotize me for an hour at a stretch.”
added by smasler | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Feb 16, 2011)
 
A debut novel from Russell (stories: St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, 2006) about female alligator wrestlers, ghost boyfriends and a theme park called World of Darkness.
added by smasler | editKirkus Reivews (Oct 13, 2010)
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Russell, Karenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gall, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
"I see nobody on the road," said Alice. "I only wish that I had such eyes," the King remarked in a fretful tone. "To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance too! Why it's as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!" --Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
Dedication
For my family
First words
Our mother performed in starlight.
Quotations
The lake was planked with great gray and black bodies.  Hilola Bigtree had to hit the water with perfect precision, making incremental adjustments midair to avoid the gators.
The Chief blinked and blinked, as if he had momentarily blinded himself with his own silver lining.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Twelve year old Ava must travel into the Underworld part of the smamp in order to save her family's dynasty of Bigtree alligator wresting. This novel takes us to the swamps of the Florida Everglades, and introduces us to Ava Bigtree, an unforgettable young heroine. The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator wrestling theme park, formerly no. 1 in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava's mother, the park's indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost; and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, who dreams of becoming a scholar, has just defected to the World of Darkness in a last ditch effort to keep their family business from going under. Ava's father, affectionately known as Chief Bigtree, is AWOL; and that leaves Ava, a resourceful but terrified thirteen, to manage ninety eight gators as well as her own grief. Against a backdrop of hauntingly fecund plant life animated by ancient lizards and lawless hungers, the author has written a novel about a family's struggle to stay afloat in a world that is inexorably sinking.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
As their island home and alligator-wrestling theme park is threatened by a sophisticated competitor, twelve-year-old Ava struggles to cope with her mother's death while her sister, brother, and father all try to deal with their grief in their own unusual ways.
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.34)
0.5 10
1 41
1.5 5
2 132
2.5 30
3 278
3.5 81
4 286
4.5 38
5 112

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 160,559,020 books! | Top bar: Always visible