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Swamplandia! - Karen Russell The title and the blurbs kind of made me want to skip this one. It sounds a touch too quirky for me, maybe. But Karen Russell is an excellent writer. I love the way she shapes the language to the character, especially in Ava's voice. The atmosphere is so haunting, lovely and foreign. The story is original and well-paced, particularly so in the last half. I can't remember barreling through 150 pages of a book with this little regard for the outside world in a long time - my apologies to my family.Sounds like a five-star review? Though sparely described, thankfully, I'm not giving full marks to any story that includes a rape scene that isn't essential to the plot or development of a character. I suppose this is debatable, but I have no trouble envisioning the whole of this book, the family tragedy and resultant adventure and growth, keeping all of its emotional impact intact, without those couple of paragraphs.