A Floating Life: A Novel

( 14 )

Overview

A Floating Life will delight lovers of Kafka, Murakami, and the magic realism of Gabriel García Márquez. A nameless narrator awakens to the muddle of middle age, no longer certain who or what he is. He finds himself at a party talking to a woman he doesn't know who proves to be his wife. Soon separated but still living in the same apartment, he is threatened by a litigious dachshund and saddled with a stubborn case of erectile dysfunction in a world that seems held together by increasingly mercurial laws and ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$16.43
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$19.95 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (19) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $9.91   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   
A Floating Life: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.49
BN.com price
(Save 42%)$19.95 List Price

Overview

A Floating Life will delight lovers of Kafka, Murakami, and the magic realism of Gabriel García Márquez. A nameless narrator awakens to the muddle of middle age, no longer certain who or what he is. He finds himself at a party talking to a woman he doesn't know who proves to be his wife. Soon separated but still living in the same apartment, he is threatened by a litigious dachshund and saddled with a stubborn case of erectile dysfunction in a world that seems held together by increasingly mercurial laws and elusive boundaries. His relationship deepens with an elderly Dutch model maker named Pecheur whose miniature boats are erratically offered for sale in a hard-to-find shop called The Floating World. Enlivened by Pecheur's dream to tame the destructive forces of nature, the narrator begins to find his bearings. With quiet humor and wisdom, A Floating Life charts its course among images that surprise and disorient, such as a job interview in a steam room with a one-eyed, seven-foot-tall chef, a midnight intrusion of bears, and the narrator’s breast feeding of the baby he has birthed.      

"Equal parts science fiction, magic realism, and hard-boiled detective story, A Floating Life is a dizzying journey . . .  a seamless, spellbinding narrative in the lineage of Borges, Castaneda, and Philip K. Dick."—Kenneth Goldsmith, author of Uncreative Writing

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A nameless narrator bumbles through a series of bewildering nightmares linked only by the flimsiest narrative thread in Crawford’s disjointed debut. The protagonist ricochets between two realities: in one, he is addled by mundane afflictions (e.g., erectile dysfunction) and finds work as an assistant in a shop called the Floating World, which specializes in model boats and miniature canal systems. The store’s owner, Pecheur, dreams of using these models to harness the destructive power of the ocean for the good of humanity. The narrator’s other reality is a shifting landscape wherein he awakes time and again from horrifying fantasies—from a cage suspended above a bottomless pit to a ravenous family of talking bears. This is Crawford’s approximation of the floating world, “the Buddhist concept of a world filled with pain came to mean the transient and unreliable nature of our world, how fleetingly it floats in the illusion of time,” but the execution is buoyed more by concept than plot. It is an experiment in storytelling, but without motivated characters and dramatic tension, it fails to tell a story at all. (Sept.)
Howard Frank Mosher
“Talking bears, talking dogs, time travel and a mid-life crisis: Tad Crawford's brilliantly original and entertaining first novel, A Floating Life, brings South American magical realism to 21st-century America in a mesmerizing story of one man's search through the realms of myth, history, and the human psyche to explore love, friendship, family ties, vocation and, in the end, what it means to live in an ultimately mysterious universe. Tad Crawford is an utterly fearless writer who will and does go wherever his wonderfully anarchic imagination takes him.”
Melvin Jules Bukiet
“By turns charming and ominous, whimsical and philosophical, A Floating Life is a multi-layered, shape-shifting miracle of a first novel.”
Nick Lyons
“A haunting, unusual, sui generis, and wonderfully sustained novel that also manages to be hilarious. I loved it.”
Booklist
“Crawford’s mastery of slowly revealing the content of a chapter, combined with his skillful description of landscape and character, adds reality to an essentially surreal narrative. . . .The elements of the picaresque and magic realism, blended with quirky, surreal humor, should appeal to readers with a taste for the literary and the strange.”
Nelson W. Aldrich
“Throughout this fantastical saga of privation, like Odysseus’s voyage without a homecoming, like Dante’s tour without a guide or a Beatrice, Crawford’s narrator recounts his amazing adventures in a mesmerizing diction of long-suffering cool. His losses are nearly total: spouse, child, occupation, property, potency, clothes (repeatedly), safety, and friends. In the end, in his memory and ours, we are left an account of magical encounters with imaginary creatures: a litigious dachshund, a terrifyingly helpful bear, a man called Pecheur who doesn’t fish (men or fish). They cannot save him – often, indeed, they imperil him – but they can enchant our world. They did mine.”
Kirkus Reviews
In Crawford's world, boundaries, especially those between people, are semipermeable membranes with tenuous connections to reality. At times, Crawford seems to be channeling Kafka or Borges, a feeling reinforced when, at a party his unnamed narrator engages a vaguely familiar woman in conversation. She informs her interlocutor that she's written a letter to her husband, outlining his deficiencies and the hopelessness of their marriage. The narrator finally figures out whom he's talking to--his wife. Equally dreamlike sequences emerge from this one. The couple decides to live in separate bedrooms in their apartment, but when this turns out to be unfeasible, the narrator goes to look for a new place to live. The real estate agent he talks to firmly rejects some of the narrator's choices and eventually tells him he'd be happy in a small efficiency, but the building is being constructed under this apartment, deep in the ground, so in a surreal way, the apartment is actually a penthouse. One of the most important connections the narrator makes is to The Floating World, a weird and elusive shop where one can buy model ships, something the narrator starts to develop an intense interest in. The shop is located in a brownstone with no identifying marks, and its proprietor is a Dutchman who goes by the nautical name of Pecheur. Over time, the narrator and the shopkeeper become quite close, the latter taking on the narrator as an assistant. In addition to the death of Pecheur, the narrator ultimately must also confront his erectile dysfunction as well as the dilemma of waking up in an infirmary where he breastfeeds an infant, rather unusual since the narrator is a man. Odd, offbeat and strangely shimmering.
From the Publisher

"The climax resolves all satisfyingly and surprisingly. The elements of the picaresque and magic realism, blended with quirky, surreal humor, should appeal to readers with a taste for the literary and the strange.”
Booklist

“Odd, offbeat, and strangely shimmering.”
Kirkus Reviews

"[Crawford's] refreshing style brings surprise and fun back into fiction.”
New York Journal of Books

“Tad Crawford is an utterly fearless writer who will and does go wherever his wonderfully anarchic imagination takes him.”
—Howard Frank Mosher, author of A Stranger in the Kingdom

“Through this fantastical saga of privation, like Odysseus’s voyage with homecoming, like Dante’s tour without a guide or a Beatrice, Crawford’s narrator recounts his amazing adventures in a mesmerizing diction of long-suffering cool.”
—Nelson W. Aldrich Jr., author of Old Money

“By turns charming and ominous, whimsical and philosophical, A Floating Life is a multilayered shape-shifting miracle of a first novel.”
—Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of Strange Fire

“Equal parts science fiction, magic realism, and hard-boiled detective story, A Floating Life is a dizzying journey . . . a seamless, spellbinding narrative in the lineage of Borges, Castañeda, and Philip K. Dick.”
—Kenneth Goldsmith, author of I'll Be Your Mirror and Uncreative Writing

“A haunting, unusual, sui generis, and wonderfully sustained novel that also manages to be hilarious. I loved it.”
—Nick Lyons, author of Spring Creek

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611457025
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tad Crawford grew up in the artists’ colony of Woodstock, New York. A graduate of Columbia Law School, he campaigned for artists’ rights as an attorney and drafted the artists’ moral rights law enacted in New York State. The founder and publisher of Allworth Press and the author of many nonfiction books, including Legal Guide for the Visual Artist and The Secret Life of Money, his writing has appeared in venues such as Art in America, The Café Irreal, Confrontation, Communication Arts, Family Circle, Glamour, Guernica, The Nation, and Writer’s Digest.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 20, 2012

    A Gem of imaginative writing

    This well-crafted novel with its carefully wrought language is a gem of imaginative writing. I was carried along by the turns in the narrative from one adventure to the next. I found the characters of the wise old men in Pecheur and Tsukino-san wonderfully convincing sources of strength, meaning and finally new life itself. I loved the vivid section about the narrator giving birth and nurturance to his son. And the narrator’s ominous yet uplifting encounters with the bear family were a delight. I was truly sorry when I came to the end, wanting more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    A FLOATING LIFE takes the reader deep into the kaleidoscope of p

    A FLOATING LIFE takes the reader deep into the kaleidoscope of psyche.
    No matter what zany experience befalls the narrator, Crawford's voice is
    hilarious. Fasten your seatbelts! This masterful first novel will
    surprise and delight. A must-read for lovers of Murakami and Borges,
    with magical realism and mysticism entwined.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2012

    Once I entered this world it enveloped me and I found myself on

    Once I entered this world it enveloped me and I found myself on a
    journey between life and death, spirit and matter. At the start I felt I
    was in a Kafkaesque dream. There are threads that weave the reader
    inside and out so masterfully that I believed I could open the novel
    anywhere and find a thread that would lead me back to the beginning or
    onward to the ending. It left me with clearer inner sightings. One truth
    shown by the novel is that all that really matters is love, including
    the love of deep friendship. Hilda

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    The author has a very fertile imagination, which comes through a

    The author has a very fertile imagination, which comes through as the
    protagonist moves from one dreamlike state to another, encountering some
    unforgettable characters along the way. Move into this dream state at
    the very beginning, and you'll be carried along on wave after wave of
    unusual experiences.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2012

    Don¿t be surprised by the unusual format and striking juxtaposit

    Don’t be surprised by the unusual format and striking juxtapositions of
    images. Just let yourself go and be taken up with the dreamlike quality
    of this engrossing fiction. It’s a rare insight into how one’s
    unconscious weaves in and out of reality and dreams. Enjoy the ride!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Dreamy, wise, engaging, strange. A tale of middle-age muddle tol

    Dreamy, wise, engaging, strange. A tale of middle-age muddle told with
    insight, imagination, and subtle humor in a distinctive voice that’s
    something like Kafka after an unusually good night’s sleep, Bulgakov if
    he’d had late-capitalist worries, or Leonora Carrington dressed up as a
    man. If your taste runs to enigmatic shop owners, shipwrecked kamikazes,
    talking animals, and Las Vegas cyclopes (or you think it might), and you
    like the idea of them mingling with resonating sense, around a core of
    real human concerns, this is very likely a book for you. If no, it may
    be even more so.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 15, 2012

    Very highly recommended

    A truly fantastic novel that made my summer. It's the kind of book that stays with you. Images, sounds and whole scenes remain in my mind. Like a surreal journey, this book takes you to places that are magical but with a twist that keeps the reader engaged. My hat is off to Mr. Crawford who shows great sophistication, style and savvy in a book that I hope will be the first of more to come!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 15, 2014

    Booklist sure was right about this ending "satisfyingly and

    Booklist sure was right about this ending "satisfyingly and surprisingly." A delightful break from the everyday doldrums, each scene is a wonderful postmodern exercise for the imagination. In short scenes and in no time at all, it creates characters you hate and want to gossip about (the narrator's wife), those you love and wish you had in your life (Pecheur), and mystical ones (an intensely believable family of bears) that capture your curiosity. Classic literature and history seamlessly wind their ways in as well to enrich the novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 4, 2013

    In ¿A Floating Life,¿ Tad Crawford offers us a smorgasbord of de

    In “A Floating Life,” Tad Crawford offers us a smorgasbord of delights--an intriguing story that is both profound and whimsical, a mystery that doesn’t become a mystery until it’s solved; a morality tale that doesn’t moralize. It’s a rich tapestry of life by a skilled weaver and philosopher, who has given much thought to the important issues of a life worth living-- love, friendship, and marriage; freedom and liberty; power and control; and growth of the human spirit. Perfect food for a book club, it will trigger spirited discussions about all these and more.
    A great storyteller and master of the tall tale, Crawford entrances, seduces, and teases us with soul-searching riddles, serving them up to us on a silver platter full of whimsy and suspense. Unafraid to go wherever his inventive mind leads him, this creative illusionist takes us on a whirlwind in which the ordinary becomes bizarre, and vice versa. Although his book is a cornucopia of wisdom and messages, he never spoon feeds his readers but asks us to ‘taste’ the answers.
    Seldom do I read a book more than once, but I re-read this one not long after I read it the first time, and then I read it again. This haunting, visionary, and impeccably executed novel left me pondering its secrets long after I’d turned the last page.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 26, 2013

    Readers eager to explore a world beyond the ordinary need look n

    Readers eager to explore a world beyond the ordinary need look no further.
    This really is a fantastic accomplishment.
    If you loved the delightful creepiness of The Twilight Zone, the weirdness of Fringe and wish to expand your collection and enjoyment with something that manages to stay pretty strong throughout and different from the normal, run of the mill stories, then you will definitely want to add this to your collection.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2012

    A Floating Life is marvelous, in the fullest sense of that word.

    A Floating Life is marvelous, in the fullest sense of that word. And in addition it is beautifully imagined and elegantly written. In the hands of Tad Crawford, It's genre, Magical Realism, allows us to visit impossible realms, both terrible and ecstatic, and to survive that journey both amused and deeply moved. A new voice, a wonderful debut.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2012

    An Instant Classic!!

    Tad Crawford's "A Floating Life" ranks among the great, imaginative works of recent literature. Reading it is a transformative experience in and of itself, as the reader is taken on a wild and intimate journey inside the narrator's psyche. It's dream-like quality is brutally honest and hysterically funny all at once. Its a courageous novel, one that surprises with each turn of the page. I found it riveting from start to finish and could not put it down. Mr. Crawford has exploded on the scene with this expertly crafted, brilliantly written novel where each word, each passage reveals deeper meaning. To describe the details within could never do it justice -- its something that just has to be experienced to be fully understood. Read this book. You will be amazed as I was. You've never experience anything quite like it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Best Novel I have Read This Summer

    This was a surprise hit for me. I began reading this book and could not put it down. I was drawn into a world that was fantastic, magical, and truly bizarre. I am a floater myself in many ways, or so the book made me realize, because though I think myself consciously directed, I yearn for the kind of escapes this book led me on. If this is not the domain of great novels then what is? I am highly recommending this book because I was left wanting more, and I still have images and scenes swirling in my head.
    May you have the same mellifluous experience I had.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    One is submerged in an alchemical mist, adrift in the beauty of

    One is submerged in an alchemical mist, adrift in the beauty of
    language spare and well-crafted. In this mystic’s world, I walked in
    crystal corridors that seemed an endless maze and yet, in the end,
    brought me to the unfathomable wonder of life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)