In Europe, not many people are acquainted with the work of Carl Hiaasen, writer in Florida. From the early eighties, Hiaasen has worked on a remarkable body of work. His novels always start with a protagonist that is part of some sort of environmentalist group or will become active in such a thing as the story develops. They have a title of two words, take place in Florida and involve criminals. The plots of his books are regularly inspired by detective novels. His work has a resemblance to that of the Coen brothers.
The base of his work is his sarcastic tone, mixed with a sincere care for the environment and rural nature of Florida. This is constantly threatened by big corporate companies, or so says Hiaasen. Oh, and his books all share the same, colorfoul jacket designs, that make them instantly recognizable.
Hiaasen’s most recent novel is Bad Monkey but the best way to start is probably by reading his debut novel Tourist Season. It tells the amusing, sardonic story of a group of amateur environmental terrorists, led by a former journalist, who went insane. In a way it’s also Hiaasen’s own biography. Before writing novels, he was the most popular newspaper columnist of Orlando. He successfully wrote against Disney, causing them to annul the plans for a big amusement park. Later he was sacked, when Disney took over the newspaper he wrote for.
Carl Hiaasen – a man who doesn’t take himself or mankind seriously, but ultimately loves the world we live in.