Paradise Screwed: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen

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Overview

Bestselling author Carl Hiaasen has written Tourist Season, Strip Tease, Sick Puppy, Skinny Dip, and many other novels that have helped define Florida noir. He is also the author of three popular books for young readers, Hoot, Flush, and most recently, Scat. His nonfiction includes Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World and Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. A Florida native and lifelong resident, Hiaasen still writes regularly for the Miami Herald, where he has worked for 33 years and where these columns first appeared. Diane Stevenson teaches research writing in the psychology department at the University of Florida.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813034287
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 9/13/2009
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 268,954
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl Hiaasen

Bestselling author Carl Hiaasen has written Tourist Season, Strip Tease, Sick Puppy, Skinny Dip, and many other novels that have helped define Florida noir. He is also the author of three popular books for young readers, Hoot, Flush, and most recently, Scat. His nonfiction includes Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World and Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. A Florida native and lifelong resident, Hiaasen still writes regularly for the Miami Herald, where he has worked for 33 years and where these columns first appeared. His Web site is www.carlhiaasen.com.Diane Stevenson teaches research writing in the psychology department at the University of Florida.

Biography

When one thinks of the classics of pulp fiction, certain things -- gruff, amoral antiheroes, unflinching nihilism, and a certain melodramatic self-seriousness -- inevitably come to mind. However, the novels of Carl Hiaasen completely challenge these pulpy conventions. While the pulp of yesteryear seems forever chiseled in an almost quaint black and white world, Hiaasen's books vibrate with vivid color. They are veritable playgrounds for wild characters that flout clichés: a roadkill-eating ex-governor, a bouncer/assassin who takes care of business with a Weed Wacker, a failed alligator wrestler named Sammy Tigertail. Furthermore, Hiaasen infuses his absurdist stories with a powerful dose of social and political awareness, focusing on his home turf of South Florida with an unflinching keenness.

Hiaasen was born and raised in South Florida. During the 1970s, he got his start as a writer working for Cocoa Today as a public interest columnist. However, it was his gig as an investigative reporter for The Miami Herald that provided him with the fundamentals necessary for a career in fiction. "I'd always wanted to write books ever since I was a kid," Hiaasen told Barnes & Noble.com. "To me, the newspaper business was a way to learn about life and how things worked in the real world and how people spoke. You learn all the skills -- you learn to listen, you learn to take notes -- everything you use later as a novelist was valuable training in the newspaper world. But I always wanted to write novels."

Hiaasen made the transition from journalism to fiction in 1981 with the help of fellow reporter Bill Montalbano. Hiaasen and Montalbano drew upon all they had learned while covering the Miami beat in their debut novel Powder Burn, a sharp thriller about the legendary Miami cocaine trade, which the New York Times declared an "expertly plotted novel." The team followed up their debut with two more collaborative works before Hiaasen ventured out on his own with Tourist Season, an offbeat murder mystery that showcased the author's idiosyncratic sense of humor.

From then on, Hiaasen's sensibility has grown only more comically absurd and more socially pointed, with a particular emphasis on the environmental exploitation of his beloved home state. In addition to his irreverent and howlingly funny thrillers (Double Whammy, Sick Puppy, Nature Girl, etc), he has released collections of his newspaper columns (Kick Ass, Paradise Screwed) and penned children's books (Hoot, Flush). With his unique blend of comedy and righteousness ("I can't be funny without being angry."), the writer continues to view hallowed Florida institutions -- from tourism to real estate development -- with a decidedly jaundiced eye. As Kirkus Reviews has wryly observed, Hiassen depicts "...the Sunshine State as the weirdest place this side of Oz."

Good To Know

Perhaps in keeping with his South Floridian mindset, Hiaasen keeps snakes as housepets. He says on his web site, "They're clean and quiet. You give them rodents and they give you pure, unconditional indifference."

Hiaasen is also a songwriter: He's co-written two songs, "Seminole Bingo" and "Rottweiler Blues", with Warren Zevon for the album Mutineer. In turn, Zevon recorded a song based on the lyrics Hiaasen had written for a dead rock star character in Basket Case.

In Hiaasen's novel Nature Girl, he gets the opportunity to deal with a long-held fantasy. "I'd always fantasized about tracking down one of these telemarketing creeps and turning the tables -- phoning his house every night at dinner, the way they hassle everybody else," he explains on his web site. "In the novel, my heroine takes it a whole step farther. She actually tricks the guy into signing up for a bogus ‘ecotour' in Florida, and then proceeds to teach him some manners. Or tries."

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    1. Hometown:
      Tavernier, Florida
    1. Education:
      Emory University; B.A., University of Florida, 1974

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Depressing

    I like anything written by Mr. Hiassen and this book is no exception. As a compilation of his newspaper columns this book provides an insight into a very depressing scheme of events perpetrated by a greedy and corrupt group of business people and politicians. Florida is doomed!

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  • Posted July 29, 2009

    This is not a new book!

    This was originally pubished in 2001. Good book but not new.

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    Posted July 29, 2009

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