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Native Tongue [Paperback]

Carl Hiaasen
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 May 1999

PR man Joe Winder didn't believe the theft of the last two blue-tongued voles on Earth from a billionaire's Florida theme park. He just wrote the story. Asking questions later was his biggest mistake. Before he could say Robbie Raccoon, he was hiding out in the Everglades with a one-eyed man and gun-toting granny in pink curlers - and ready to put the skids on the craziest crime con in the history of the state...

Welcome to the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills! It's classic Carl Hiaasen. And live without him would be a pale imitation.

'Tirelessly inventive screwball thriller in which valiant-for-truth PR man outfaces sexually deviant dolphin, man-eating pet whale and sub-moronic goon addicted to steroids. Aaagh!' Guardian

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New Ed edition (7 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330321935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330321938
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of twelve novels, including the bestselling Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy and Lucky You, and three bestselling children's books, Hoot, Flush and Scat. They have been translated into 34 languages, 33 more than he can read or write. Carl Hiaasen also writes an award-winning column for The Miami Herald.

Product Description

About the Author

Carl Hiaasen has been writing about Florida since he was given a typewriter at the age of six. His novel, BASKET CASE, was a Sunday Times hardcover bestseller for over a month on publication in March 2002. As well as fiction, Hiaasen writes columns for the Miami Herald.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a superb read. 18 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Carl Hiassen is continually dogged by those miscellaneous authors such as Elmore Leonard, Ben Elton, Robert Llewellyn, et cetera, who wish to depict a highly esoteric and warped view of the modern world. Hiassen has, though, been coveted as the "master" of the genre--the South Floridean Whackos Genre, that is--and in "Native Tongue" he provides full circle of encompassing wit, slapstick and darkly 'smirk-able' satire. Up until now I had never read a Hiassen novel, albiet the good reviews abounding on his work--saying that along with Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. he is one of the highest purchased novelists issuing books in the US of A. And, seemingly, this is an accurate suggestion. He is akin to Dave Barry, another South Floridean columnist turn novelist who won a Pulitzer Prize fundamentally for discussing booger and exploding cows. But where Barry fails flaccidly, Hiassen sharply and smoothly wins the reading audience--he is able to make one laugh. It isn't that Barry is otherwise than funny; he's quite humorous, but it is a variety of humour which is cartoonish and not lasting, whilst Hiassen's wit is irrepressible and although Farrelley-like, still raucously laughable. "Native Tongue" is an indelicately biting novel featuring the recurring Hiassen character of Skink (who makes a revival in the novel "Sick Puppy") as well as a full supporting cast of whackos, submoronic amputees addicted to anebolic steroids, psychopathically nature-fervent geriatrics toting guns, wickedly eccentric yet appealing public relations men and more. It is a witty, ironic and satirical read of a place steeped in underworld apocrypha and rains of mudsnakes. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Does it make you sad to see beautiful trees and lively animals bulldozed out of their natural habitats? Well, it makes many characters in Native Tongue explode with rage . . . and they take commando actions to stop the rampant development in fragile surroundings. It's all done with waggish tongue-in-cheek humor that also lambastes tourists; organized crime; water, theme and animal parks; golf courses; property development; body builders; the Federal witness protection program; the FBI; public relations flacks; reporters; telephone sex; security guards; and of course, the environmentalists themselves.
This story develops in many unexpected ways. You will enjoy the book more if you experience all of the surprises. I suggest that you avoid reading reviews that reveal anything about the plot and characters, other than the themes.
The title of the book itself turns out to be a hilarious play on three different and unexpected aspects of the story. I don't remember a novel whose title was so appropriate for its story, yet gave so little hint about the context in the beginning.
This book came close to being a perfect satire. My only objection was I found that Mr. Hiaasen had overdone the Pedro Luz character in a way that destroyed the good humor I was enjoying while reading the book.
Do something to help nature today!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Amazing Kingdom of Thrills 19 July 2004
Hiaasen continues what he's good at - bringing a selection of the oddest characters imaginable into one setting, while wagging a finger at all those who dare to upset the ecological balance of his beloved Florida.
The plot revolves around Joe Winder's gradual reawakening from undervalued PR man at the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills to trainee eco-warrior and investigative journalist. Francis X Kingsbury, owner of the Amazing Kingdom, sets his pet Doberman, Pedro Luz, the challenge of getting Joe out of his hair. Luz is on a permanent diet of steroids to enhance his physique - unfortunately, this requires the use of a hospital trolley with intravenous drip, which he carts about everywhere.
The plot is secondary to the wonderful characters and animals of the Amazing kingdom. Orky the whale is an absolute star - unhelpful at the best of times, but God help you if you're wearing green...and a sex-crazed dolphin who doesn't particularly care who it's rogering just as long as it is.
Vintage Hiaasen. Rich, colourful, and full of those moments where you laugh out loud and upset the wife.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Serious crime fiction buffs shouldn't rebuke Hiaasan for injecting a bit of wit and irony into his books. Native Tongue flies the flag for a group of nature conservationists in Florida. They do battle with a crooked property developer who owns one of the areas most flawed theme parks. A down-on-his-luck newspaper reporter, a one eyed ostracised congressman, two common thieves and a steriod swilling security guard, are amongst the characters that make this book one of the best works of crime fiction you're ever likely to read. YOU WILL LOVE IT.
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By A Customer
This author, along with most of his books seems to be less appreciated in his native USA - Americans I have spoken with have expressed the opinion that his humour is too 'off the wall' or dark.
It has also been pointed out that this sense of humour is more what the Americans picture as British - Personally I take this as a huge compliment and thoroughly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lightning-Paced Crime Farce 16 Dec 2010
Carl Hiaasen turns his spotlight on the ex-Mafia grass who owns a poor man's version of Disney World. The Amazing Kingdom of Thrills is the centre for cheating, dirty deeds and murder. Ex-journalist Joe Winder and a motley crew of good guys are on the trail of a murderer and stumble into financial conspiracy. Ex-Governor Tyree appears again, like an Old Testament avenger. He gets madder from book to book -- good, say I -- he's one of the genre's finest inventions.

This is a crime novel, a thriller, of comic glory -- another laugh out loud work from Hiaasen. Full of absurd details and zany scenes, heartily recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty funny book,
Hiassen writes comedic books that look at the relationship between politicians, big business, and their impact on rhe environment. Read more
Published on 25 Nov 2007 by J. Bowen
I appreciate the way this author takes a problem that's in the daily news and weaves it into a story in such an awesome fashion. Read more
Published on 17 April 2006 by Betty L. Dravis
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
This was and may probably be the last Hiaasen book I read. I am always looking for new authors and after reading favourable reviews of his books I decided to give him a try. Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2006 by S. A. Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars native tongue
i picked up this book in the hotel foyer in greece and took it down the beach for the day.IT is a seriusly funny and clever book i could not put it down and have been a haissen fan... Read more
Published on 19 Jan 2006
1.0 out of 5 stars tired plot, flat characters
Sorry to disagree with the fans but I thought this was truly awful. It seemed as though I was reading a very basic script for a 'straight to video' juvenile farce. Read more
Published on 12 Dec 2004 by C. Ramuz
1.0 out of 5 stars Rehashed plot and tired characters
I like Hiaasen and read this approximately 6 weeks after finishing Stormy Weather which at times brought me close to hysterical laugher. Read more
Published on 9 Aug 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A classy number
This one is a real treat, combining the strangest characters and events possible into a really compelling and fun read. Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for anyone wo has ever been or dealt with tourists
As a former worker at an amusement park, I can vouch that Carl has done his homework. It is clear, sarcastic, side-splittingly funny, dark but palatteable, with a wide range of... Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2001
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