Monday, August 20, 2012


Karme is southern fiction set in Florida's Big Cypress Swamp in the 1960s. I had a really hard time getting into this book, despite my fondness for Southern fiction. Karme, a feral young woman raised in the swamp by her people hating, probably psychotic mother, has a deep relationship with the earth and the swamp until her hormones start to rage and her curiosity about real townsfolk, especially a certain young man, start to be aroused. Mom is long dead and Karme is curious enough to want to leave the safety of the swamp and head for civilization. Civilization in this area is a misnomer since the people in Moonyville are more repulsive than most. I think the reason that I had a hard time enjoying the book is that the characters are all stereotypes and therefore predictable. Although the book paints a gorgeous picture of the swamps and Karme herself is a lovely allegory, the rest of the characters are ignorant Southern crackers, whose stories, prejudices and plain ugliness are better left unexplored. The interjections by Brant, the man Karme loved add nothing to the narrative and are distracting, even though mildly amusing. There was a lot to hate about the South from the 1920s to today and this author managed to include all of it without balancing anything other than its physical beauty against its flaws.

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