This is an engaging story but one of the readers was not up to audible.com standards and made it more difficult to connect to the characters.
Having read reviews of the printed book, I may try another one by this author. The voice and delivery by Arielle Stricker is such that I cannot finish the book. The reading is soft, unsteady, childlike and lacks expression. This makes it almost impossible to follow.
I did not listen to the end
It is inarticulate
I have no opinion here
I wish I had read the other reviews before purchasing. I would like a refund.
I found the story to be incredibly engaging...seeing the world from an isolated, innocent little girl's perspective kept me in suspense the entire time. Is this a work of magical realism, with real ghosts and real witches, or, is our narrator creating her own magic and believing adult lies? Beautifully written, with a female narrator who captured the innocence of the character perfectly. Listen to Swamplandia! for a beautiful, engaging, suspenseful version of a coming of age tale and the story of a family making their way in the world.
I try to stick with a book that I purchase, but this one was hard. It wasn't well written, and I'm hard put to know if there was a point to it. David Ackroyd is quite a good narrator, but Arielle Sitrick was dreadful. She dropped her voice at commas, then proceeded on with the remainder of the sentence. It may have been the primary reason that I couldn't enjoy anything about this book.
The problem with "quirky" novels is that you either get into the world the author has created, or you don't. I enjoyed this book and even admired it at times, but I did not fully engage with the characters or the semi-supernatural world they inhabited.
This is a book I wish I'd read instead of listened to...the childlike voice of Ava either enunciated badly or mispronounced words, and the 3rd person narrator for Kiwi's chapters seemed totally miscast.
Since this story took place in a theme park, I mistakenly thought it would be upbeat. Instead it was dark and depressing. I had no idea there would be such a heavy focus on the supernatural, which was also not what I expected. It was exceedingly depressing and I even considered fast forwarding some sad and slow sections (which I NEVER do).
On the plus side, the quality of writing is very good, so if you are someone who can put up with books that make you feel horrible, go right ahead.
Karen Russell has a remarkable talent for creating stunning images with perfect and fresh similes and metaphors. She creates a world that is part the real world of the Florida swamp, so vivid you want to swat the mosquitoes and dodge the alligators, and part the world of ghosts and the human underworld. But even better, she creates the world of children struggling desperately to survive a terrible loss and another terrible threat and surviving through love for one another and their parents. And she has created a wonderful character, Ava, a child whose voyage down the river Styx and back to humanity brings us into this fascinating world. Congratulations too to Arielle Sitrick who perfectly captures Ava in her reading.
this audiobook was my first audible purchase that i really didn't *love* - the narration switches back and forth from a teenage girl (as ava) and an older man narrating brother kiwi's part of the book. i had read the *rave* reviews in entertainment weekly about this book - so i decided to download it and it just did not keep my interest. the family dynamic is well-written but just was not that great to keep my interest. sad that this was my first audiobook purchase that i didn't absolutely adore. usually i can't *wait* to get back to listening to my audiobooks and this one took me a long time to get through just because it wasn't that good.
To me, this book is about the impact of the death of a mother on a young girl and her isolated, eccentric, unworldly brother and sister. Ava the brave one, Ava the designated successor to her mother as the next great female alligator wrestler, Ava the fearless, sees herself as carrying on her mother's (disappearing) legacy. Her brother, Kiwi, has similar dreams (unrealistic) of saving the family business. And Osceola falls into an unreal world of her own. And in the end, Ava's fearlessness and Kiwi's dumb luck (the result of his unrelenting efforts to make something of himself) save the three of them. There's one surprisingly disturbing scene, but I guess it was necessary. I grew to like the female narrator, realizing that her young girl's voice was right for the role. And I liked the male narrator's interjection of energy and disbelief in reading the chapters about Kiwi's adventures.