The New York Times
Floodmarkersby Nic Brown
The days leading up to the impending disaster are not at all unusualno portents of disaster, no signs of impending calamity. Bryce works his night shift at the
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Lystra, North Carolina. A fictional town full of very real people who survive the attack of Hurricane Hugo and then find their bearings in the aftermathoften in wild and hilarious ways.
The days leading up to the impending disaster are not at all unusualno portents of disaster, no signs of impending calamity. Bryce works his night shift at the hot dog factory, Isaac drives the bus to school, Evelyn attends a funeral. But when the electricity fails in the middle of the night on September 21, 1989, it marks the moment when everything will change: Hugo has arrived.
The storm builds, the wind whips by faster and faster, and interpersonal dramas, grudges, and rivalries are dredged up along with the flotsam and debris. Meanwhile, flood markers, painted red, track the height of the water from past rainstorms, and as the creek level rises higher than ever before, so do the emotions of the townspeople.
Alternating between weather forecasts and short stories, Floodmarkers is an exquisitely crafted day-in-the-life of a town. And as Nic Brown has us look bravely at the eye of the storm, he cleverly shows us that human nature can stir up a spectacular tempest all its own.
The New York Times
In Brown's hip, assured debut, a series of vignettes adds up to a keen portrait of a small North Carolina town. It's September 21, 1989, in Lystra, N.C., and Hurricane Hugo is bearing down on residents and visitors alike, including shy Tennessean Cliff, in town for the wedding of his cousin, with whom he had a tender, confusing adolescent affair; high school girls Grier and Fletcher, best friends and rivals for the affection of Fletcher's brother, the be-mohawked Mike; Evelyn Graham, for whom "funerals were social events whose invitations were printed in The News & Observer obituaries"; and Pat Doublehead, a Cherokee veterinarian with an eye for little boys. Brown, a former journeyman musician, slides easily between his characters, rendering them in believable relief, from Cliff's romanticism to Fletcher's calm competence in an emergency. Though none of the players gets much time on stage-the novel is short and the character list long-Brown makes the most of them, revealing their secrets and tragedies with careful, confident economy. Think Winesburg, Ohio simultaneously pared down and amped up, read to the sound of a jangly Strat. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Like Sherwood Anderson, Brown is essentially a still-life artist; he eschews plot for portraiture, the linear for the lateral." BookForum
“Floodmarkers is . . . about the life of our times, stories starring lovable slackers and beautiful failures from a generation we haven’t even bothered to name yet. And there are dogs in itlots of them, both dead and alivewhich helped clinch its spot on my List of Favorite Books, right after The Moviegoer and just before Cathedral. Smart and funny and sexy, Floodmarkers is more than just art: it’s art on a motorcycle.”
Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish
“Nic Brown is the most talented new writer I’ve come across. This first book of his is reminiscent of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio in both its structure and its tragi-comedic view of a small town and the subsequent sufferings and joys of its inhabitants. Brown’s prose is beautiful and his empathy and insight into the human condition is breathtaking.”
Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir! and The Extra Man
“Floodmarkers is funny, warm, insightful, and very, very moving. Nic Brown has written a beautiful depiction of contemporary Southern life in a small towna compassionate portrait of hopeful, striving people. (Not to mention the sex, drugs, and hurricane.)”
Chris Offutt, author of No Heroes
“Nic Brown’s writing is so smooth it slips into your veins. Read the opening pages of Floodmarkers and you’re hooked on these interwoven stories that are as volatile, unpredictable and irresistible as the hurricane that holds them together. When the storm rips the lid off this humble town it exposes a motley ensemble of flawed, hopeful and quietly desperate young characters. There is more humanity overflowing on these pages than on most works of fiction twice its size.” Jim Lynch, author of The Highest Tide
“Nic Brown is a wonderful new writer and Floodmarkers is a wonderful new book. Brown’s prose is full of snap, crackle and pop. His characters are so vivid they jump off the page, and the dialogue is some of the best I’ve read in years. He gives us an important vision of the contemporary South in a time of prosperity and woe, yet the stories are funny and full of life. Floodmarkers is simply delicious. Bon Appetit!” Randall Kenan, author of Let the Dead Bury Their Dead
“Nic Brown writes with a clear eye and deep sympathies. The stories in this fine first collection show a writer already beginning to hit what promises to be a very big stride.” Pam Durban, author of So Far Back
- Counterpoint Press
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Meet the Author
Nic Brown toured for many years as a professional musician. A graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he lives and works inNorth Carolina. Floodmarkers is his first book.
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