The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly number-one 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.
"Sometimes Brilliant, Sometimes Disappointing"
In the collection's marvelous title story, two aging vampires in a sun-drenched Italian lemon grove find their hundred-year marriage tested when one of them develops a fear of flying. In "The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979", a dejected teenager discovers that the universe is communicating with him through talismanic objects left in a seagull's nest. "Proving Up" and "The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis" find Russell veering into more sinister territory.
"Stylish modern magic realism"
A crisis has swept America. Hundreds of thousands have lost the ability to sleep. Enter the Slumber Corps, an organization that urges healthy dreamers to donate sleep to an insomniac. Under the wealthy and enigmatic Storch brothers the Corps' reach has grown, with outposts in every major US city. Trish Edgewater, whose sister Dori was one of the first victims of the lethal insomnia, has spent the past seven years recruiting for the Corps. But Trish's faith in the organization and in her own motives begins to falter.
"Good Idea not executed"
In the collection's title story, a pack of girls raised by wolves are painstakingly reeducated by nuns. In "Haunting Olivia", two young boys make midnight trips to a boat graveyard in search of their dead sister, who set sail in the exoskeleton of a giant crab. In "Sleepaway Camp for Disordered Dreamers", a boy whose dreams foretell implacable tragedies is sent to a summer camp for troubled sleepers (Cabin 1, Narcoleptics; Cabin 2, Sleep Apneics; Cabin 3, Somnambulists . . . ).
"Killed by casting"
The undead are more alive today than ever. Immortal? Indeed! Nothing has sunk its teeth into 21st century popular culture as pervasively as the vampire. The fangsters have the freedom to fly across all genres and all mediums - there''s even apps for vamps. Whether roaming into romance, haunting horror, sneaking into science fiction, capering into humor, meandering through mystery - no icon is more versatile than the vampire.
"Don't waste your time or credit on this mess!"
"Literature and Life", by Rebecca Mead; "Fathers and Sons", by Tad Friend; "Yesterday", by Haruki Murakami; "The Bad Graft", by Karen Russell; "You Can Find Love Now", by Ramona Ausubel; "Good Legs", by Joshua Ferris; and "Tales Retold", by Anthony Lane.
The New Yorker's special Debut Fiction collection features three very different stories by writers who have yet to publish a book: "An Ex-Mas Feast" by Uwem Akpan, the day-to-day struggles and conflicts of a street family in Nairobi, dependent on the money their 12-year-old daughter brings in as a prostitute; "Haunting Olivia" by Karen Russell, a tale of two brothers searching the water for their dead sister; and "The Laser Age" by Justin Tussing.
In this issue: "Telling the Story", by Amy Davidson; "Yours Truly", by Rebecca Mead; "Go Ask Alice", by Anthony Lane; "Escape from New York", by Zadie Smith; "The Prospectors", by Karen Russell; "Where the Boys Are", by Emily Nussbaum; and "Crackups", by Anthony Lane.
Can anything ever come between true friendship? Look out world, a new group of memorable and fun-loving characters have just entered the scene. Edgar and Jules are two fox cubs who are self-proclaimed best friends for life. Each fox has always been there for the other, through thick and thin. The foxes are growing up fast, and are entering into the fifth grade this year - with each one believing nothing can change this friendship, and everything will always stay the same.
"Terrific, sentimental story."
In the Florida Everglades, gator-park Swamplandia! is in trouble. Its star performer, the great beauty and champion alligator-wrestler Hilola Bigtree, has succumbed to cancer, and Ava, her resourceful but terrified 13-year-old daughter, is left in charge with her two siblings. But Ava's sister has embarked on a romantic relationship with a ghost, her brother has defected to a rival theme park, and her father is AWOL. And then a mysterious figure called Bird Man guides Ava into a perilous part of the swamp called the Underworl....
On Strong Beach, an awkward teen with a terrible haircut has a reversal of fortune when he finds artefacts from the future lining a seagulls’ nest. By the Hox River in Nebraska, a window fuels both family pride and deadly revenge. In a godforsaken barn in what they suspect is Kentucky, Presidents Eisenhower, John Adams, and Rutherford B. Hayes are bemused to find themselves reincarnated as horses.
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