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Karme (Brant's Tales, Vol. 1): A New Book by Richard Mitchell Uses 'Magical Realism' to Portray Gritty 1950s Florida

Representing the fragile Everglades wilderness, Karme is a young woman who is more than just a fish out of water. Sheltered from human life, her unique perspective is a microcosm reflecting her threatened environment. Written Florida’s own Richard Mitchell, the novel is intended to resonate with readers around the country.


Crystal Beach, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/22/2013 -- The late 1950s was a fraught time for Florida in many ways. Through his unique brand of ‘Magical Realism’, author Richard Mitchell encapsulates the period in ‘Karme (Brant’s Tales, Vol. 1),’ an enchanting story told through the eyes of a unique and intriguing swamp creature in the person of a 19 year old girl.

Telling a story from back in ‘those days’, the book is proving popular not only with residents of its home state, but with fans across the nation.

Karme's story is aimed at telling a romantic but gritty tale that portrays Florida as it was in1957. Not incidentally the author was there at the time. Danger and opportunity await this sheltered girl who would venture out after being hidden away in the Big Cypress Swamp all her life. Karme is oddly literate – home-taught by her obsessive mother who told her she was not totally human and should never make outside contact. With the shack blown away and her mother passed on, Karme lives comfortably in her childhood tree house. She easily deals with the creatures and dangers of the Everglades but faces far greater threats from humans.

Brant, a former football hero, has dropped out of college and comes to the small town of Moonyville, looking for a place to become a “big frog in a little pond,” but he finds success only after marrying the daughter of the town boss. He is greatly distracted when he goes fishing and discovers Karme. His well-intentioned encouragement for her to mingle will have unexpected results. Her curiosity and innocence are sure to get her into trouble if she ventures out, but her longing for companionship triumphs. A foreign world awaits her, offering experiences ranging from prejudicial treatment to jail time, intoxication and potential love. She is no alien nor fairy tale creature, but a real girl, filled with the spirit of the wilderness and some scary quirks to match.

As the author explains, his book offers insights into a culture and society that bred its fair share of problems almost sixty years ago.

“Karme represents the fragility of the wilderness that she has grown up in, as she suffers the same superstitious disregard that many people still have for that environment. Attacked by a poacher, then hunted as a witch, she finds support from good-hearted people who have chosen to live unconventional lives in a society troubled by prejudice and economic oppression,” says Mitchell.

Continuing, he says: “This first of a two-book series doesn’t resolve all conflicts encountered, but it offers love stories, conflicts, friendships, local color, and a soap opera of characters within the framework of the tale. It is a mild distortion and paraphrase of feelings and some events actually experienced by the author, who loves both the swamps and inhabitants of south Florida.”

Since its release, the book has garnered some rave reviews:

“Richard Mitchell wrote a unique and fascinating story. Not knowing which parts are real and which are fairy-tale pieces made the story compelling,” says one reader, who reviewed the book on Amazon.

Another reader, Francine, was equally as impressed. She said, “The author provides a wonderful story line about the race issues of the 1950s that I found particularly interesting. I very much look forward to reading the next volume in this wonderful series.”

‘Karme (Brant’s Tales, Vol. 1)’, is available now, in Kindle format from Amazon.com and Nook format from Barnes & Noble (BN.com).

About the Author: Richard S. Mitchell
Richard S. Mitchell was born in Indianapolis and has lived in seven states. He is a jazz and pop musician who has appeared in Town Hall, NY, and he sang Calypso songs on the Lawrence Welk show at age 19. A graduate of Florida State University, he holds a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a professor at Virginia Tech., then lived in upstate New York for 27 years where he was The State Botanist. In retirement, he lives in Crystal Beach, FL. Although he has authored and edited a number of botany books, his interests have turned to writing fiction, sometimes set in the south eastern states.