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Hysterically satirical

I’m sure I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I can’t get enough of Carl Hiaasen! I was thrilled to find another of his books, I had resigned myself to having read them all. But no, Stormy Weather had somehow escaped my eagle eye! I literally ran home to dive into it.

I have struggled in the past to describe Hiaasen’s stories. People ask me what his books are about and I’m like um, well, they’re set in Florida, they’re political satire, they follow people who have environmental consciences as they wreak cruel and unusual punishments on people who don’t… But that doesn’t really cover it at all. Thinking about it today I settled on two words: Vigilante comedy.

All of Hiaasen’s books have the same setting, Florida, and there is one or two characters that pop up in each story. But each one has a new plot line.

Stormy Weather begins in the middle of one of the hurricanes that are a frequent occurrence in Florida. Bonnie and Max Lamb are on their honeymoon. Despite Bonnie’s protests, Max decides to head straight into the disaster zone – and, in a sickening display of total discompassion, starts to film the wrecked houses and the homeless people who wander amongt them. Then a monkey steals his camera, and during the chase, he ends up getting kidnapped by a vigilante one-eyed former Governor called Skink.

One of the things I love about Hiaasen, apart from the offbeat hilarity, the beatifully orginal plot lines, and the spot-on satire, is the one he intertwines so many story lines. He introduces an array of different characters throughout the story, and then slowly weaves them tighter and tighter until all their strings overlap. It’s fantastic.

It’s rare that I don’t find something to criticise in a book. But really, Hiaasen leaves no holes. I recommend all his writing.

More Carl Hiaasen novels.


About writehandedgirl

Sarah is a writer who is passionate about social justice, feminism, politics, and cats. She is a columnist and poet and currently lives in Nelson. You can follow Sarah on Twitter (@_writehanded_) or read more of her writing at


2 thoughts on “Hysterically satirical

  1. Hey I read almost all of Hiaasens books as well. Skinny Dip and Basket Case are my favorites. It’s nice to find someone who actually loves him as much as I do! 🙂

    Posted by Chelsea | December 28, 2008, 7:27 am
  2. Hi there – thanks for that! Yes he’s great isn’t he. What other authors do you read?

    Posted by writehanded | January 2, 2009, 9:52 am

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