The Ten Thousand Islands: Background information when reading Swamplandia!

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A Novel

by Karen Russell

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  • First Published:
    Feb 2011, 336 pages
    Jul 2011, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Ten Thousand Islands

Swamplandia! so successfully embeds itself in the reader's mind because of Karen Russell's thick and knowledgeable descriptions of The Ten Thousand Islands, which do not seem to figure into many other literary works.

Mangrove swamp imageThe region is a chain of hundreds of mangrove islets, tall sawgrass marsh, and brackish water where salt and fresh water mix, located off the southwest coast of Florida, roughly between the cities of Naples and Flamingo. They comprise the Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge, and part of the Everglades National Park. They are home to manatees, loggerhead sea turtles, dolphins and alligators, in addition to over 189 species of birds and over 200 species of fish.

Because the mangroves are so dense and the canals between them so labyrinthine, humans have not successfully developed the Ten Thousand Islands into productive or habitable land, but they have certainly tried. The area's original inhabitants were the Calusa Indians who fished the waters and left behind ...

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