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Sometimes the swamp-forest visibly thins away from these shores into wastes of reedy morass where, even of breathless nights, the quaggy soil trembles to a sound like thunder of breakers on a coast. Images are expertly imbued into the mind by vivid description. In Chita, Lafcadio Hearn paints life on a marshy, eclectic Gulf Coast island in the middle of the nineteenth century. Chita is a young white girl who is orphaned by a shipwreck and then adopted by a Spanish family on the island. Languages, cultures, and people collide and meld into a nebulous, but distinctive, way of life. Written during a ten-year stay in New Orleans, Chita was Hearns first novel. It is filled with beautiful language and emotion, and evokes a true sense of the location and the era.

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