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I don't think it's a coincidence that so many authors are drawn to South Florida (Carl Hiaasen, Peter Matthiessen, Joy Williams).
There is something absolutely haunting about the swamp.
I think we're probably all struggling to suit up and be adults, every day. That epigraph is seared into my brain now - I think it performed a sort of lighthouse-function for me.
Speaking of Lewis Carroll, your book's epigraph is a quote from his Through the Looking-Glass: "I see nobody on the road," said Alice. Why, it's as much as I can do to see real people, by this light! Whenever I felt lost during the drafting process, I'd return to it.
It didn't start out that way, but it has stealthily crept up in the rankings.
Now I think that gator wrestling demonstration, which I sort of snoozed through at the time, must have made a more lasting and dramatic impression than I realized.
At a time when nobody could drive and we were all child-hostages of our houses, when we could not even get to school by our own power, it made me so happy whenever I discovered that another kid and I had both gone to a wonderland or a dystopian England, and that, even more insanely, we'd done this inside of the same skin, merged with the same character.
It still strikes me as an amazing thing to have in common with someone.
I can't pinpoint where exactly the idea came from, but it probably owes a great debt to my school's field trips to the Miccosukee Indian Village in the Everglades.
In two separate interviews Karen Russell talks about her first book of short stories, St.
Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, and her first novel, Swamplandia! Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, are both set in a sort of enchanted, Lewis Carroll-like version of North America.
Many of your narratives are seen through the eyes of children, and rather precocious ones at that.
Do you believe there is something unique or meaningful about childhood, particularly the perspective and experience of youth, that makes you continuously return to them as protagonists?
"I only wish that I had such eyes," the King remarked in a fretful tone. I love it because it so succinctly contains one of the central questions of the book - how can we find one another, how can we truly "see" one another, when so much of our lives are spent straining after phantoms?