Modern manners

<strong>Nature Girl</strong>

Carl Hiaasen <em>Bantam Press, 320pp, £12.99</em>

ISBN 0593057317

Carl Hiaasen's books are peopled with insane and imbalanced characters who are bizarre and hilarious. In Nature Girl, Honey Santana has stopped taking her medication and seeks revenge on a world controlled by telemarketers; the ensuing plot is her personal battle against "the erosion of manners in modern society".

Boyd Shreave is a part-time telemarketer who is about to be taught a lesson. Along with his mistress, Eugenie Fonda, and followed by a private investigator hired by his wife, Boyd finds himself lured by Honey to Dismal Key, one of the Everglades' Ten Thousand Islands. It is also the hideout of Sammy Tigertail, half descendant of a Seminole Indian chief, half Irish. Into the equation comes Honey’s unhinged former work colleague, the semi-mutilated Louis Piejack, and her disturbingly protective

ex-husband, Perry Skinner.

Hiaasen possesses a Shakespearean mastery of the insult. A character might be described as a "philandering shitweasel" or (my personal favourite) "a rectal ulcer". Add to this a remarkable talent for improving upon the common cliché – "Sometimes life is a shit-flavoured popsicle" – and Hiaasen's satirical wizardry is constantly entertaining.

This article first appeared in the 29 January 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Climate change

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SRSLY #14: Interns, Housemaids and Witches

On the pop culture podcast this week, we discuss the Robert De Niro-Anne Hathaway film The Intern, the very last series of Downton Abbey, and Sylvia Townsend Warner’s novel Lolly Willowes.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

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SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s web editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

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The Links

On The Intern

Ryan Gilbey’s discussion of Robert De Niro’s interview tantrums.

Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed on “Anne Hathaway Syndrome”.


On Downton Abbey

This is the sort of stuff you get on the last series of Downton Abbey.


Elizabeth Minkel on the decline of Downton Abbey.



On Lolly Willowes

More details about the novel here.

Sarah Waters on Sylvia Townsend Warner.


Next week:

Caroline is reading Selfish by Kim Kardashian.


Your questions:

We loved reading out your emails this week. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we've discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at], or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.



The music featured this week, in order of appearance, is:

i - Kendrick Lamar

With or Without You - Scala & Kolacny Brothers 

Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 

See you next week!

PS If you missed #13, check it out here.

Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

Anna Leszkiewicz is the New Statesman's editorial assistant.