We have a very special Mr. Jones's Neighborhood for you today, mainly because there's very little of Mr. Jones himself in this episode. After a brief
rant intro, host Ken Jones (no relation) hands things over to Kent Russell and Karen Russell to talk about Kent's new book In the Land of Good Living: A Journey to the Heart of Florida, recently published by Knopf. The book recounts Kent's walk, along with two friends, across the entire state of Florida, from the Panhandle to the Keys, just before the 2016 election, with the intent of filming a documentary of their adventures. In the book, Kent shares his discoveries in a series of often funny, moving, and always entertaining stories about the people he meets and the places he visits. Love it or hate it, or a little of both, Florida is endlessly fascinating, and Kent is a wonderful guide.
Kent and Karen Russell are brother and sister, native Floridians born and raised in Miami, and amazing writers! In addition to In the Land of Good Living, Kent's work includes the book I Am Sorry to Have Raised A Timid Son and essays for New Republic, Harper’s Magazine, GQ, n+1, The Believer, and Grantland. Karen's work includes the novel Swamplandia!, the novella Sleep Donation, and three collections of short fiction – St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and Orange World.
I had the great joy of talking with Karen previously for Mr. Jones's Neighborhood and Between the Covers, and loved listening to her conversation with Kent about the new book and the state of Florida. I think you'll feel the same!
Photo of Kent Russell courtesy of Benjamin Travers
Photo of Karen Russell courtesy of Dan Hawk