I'm a big Karen Russell fan, and in continuing my borderline fan girl obsession I would like to do a quick tea for two Friday (I know, I know it's a bit late, but I've recently started writing my novel in earnest) on Swamplandia!. For this book I would say try something light, hot and grassy - like a Yerba Mate blend with a bit of jasmine for sweetness or some white tea to mellow the Yerba Mate flavor. It'll bring out the flavor of the swamp without leaving your living room.
I first became acquainted with Karen Russell's work reading St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves in a "best of" short story collection. I've since read her short story collection of the same name as well as Swamplandia!. I can't get enough. Swamplandia! was excellent excepting only an unrealistic and unnecessary child rape scene. I felt it was underplayed, didn't move the plot forward, and didn't seem to have impacted the character in as strong and damaging a way as I would have expected for a traumatic event. Then again, I'm still a huge fan, and new writers in metaphorical glass houses should not throw reviews.
My favorite section came at the end - I felt that P. 314 & 315 were sheer genius. Buy this book and then get a copy for your friends.
Before I end this pairing, I would like to touch on some ideas Russell raised during the book. One was the idea loosely of blood memory which I loved, sort of an exploration of fate, genetics, and family bloodline. I thought the "panic of love" one sister feels on being reunited with another after a very difficult series of events.
In other news the slowdown of my short story collection tea pairing will end soon. I honestly fell so in love with the book I didn't want it to end. I will try to present it soon.