Floridaby Christine Schutt
Alice Fivey, fatherless since she was seven, is left in the care of her relatives at ten when her love-wearied mother loses custody of her and enters "the San," submitting to years of psychiatric care. She is moved from place to place, remaining still while others mold her into someone different from her namesake mother. But they do share the same name. Is she then… See more details below
Alice Fivey, fatherless since she was seven, is left in the care of her relatives at ten when her love-wearied mother loses custody of her and enters "the San," submitting to years of psychiatric care. She is moved from place to place, remaining still while others mold her into someone different from her namesake mother. But they do share the same name. Is she then her mother?
Alice consoles herself with books, and she herself becomes a storyteller who must build her own home word by word. Florida is her story, told in brief scenes of spare beauty as Alice moves ever further from the desolation of her mother's actions, into adulthood and closer to the meaning of her own experience. In this most elegiac and luminous novel, Christine Schutt gives voice to the feast of memory, the mystery of the mad and missing, and, above all, the life-giving power of language.
"Writing with razor-sharp observation, in Florida Christine Schutt has created an admirably precise, spare, and yet detailed portrait of the contingencies that give rise to a young girl's anguish and her stubborn endurance against all odds."
Lydia Davis, author of Samuel Johnson is indignant
"Christine Schutt's sad and funny novel of a little girl adrift amid a group of childish adults has the same brilliancy of close observation that distinguished her collection of stories Nightwork. Everything the child sees is unstable, but the fixed intensity of her gaze grounds her chaotic home life and almost confers a logic on it. Florida is an amazing achievement."
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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- 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.39(d)
Read an Excerpt
One winter afternoonan entire winterit was my father who was taking us. Father and Mother and I, we were going to Floridawho knew for how long? I listened in at the breakfast table whenever I heard talk of sunshine. I asked questions about our living there that made them smile. We all smiled a lot at the breakfast table. We ate sectioned fruit capped with bleedy maraschinosmy favorite! The squeezed juice of the grapefruit was grainy with sugar and pulpy, sweet, pink. "Could I have more?" I asked, and my father said sure. In Florida, he said it was good health all the time. No winter coats in Florida, no boots, no chains, no salt, no plows and shovels. In the balmy state of Florida, fruit fell in the meanest yard. Sweets, nuts, saltwater taffies in seashell colors. In the Florida we were headed for the afternoon was swizzled drinks and cherries to eat, stem and all: "Here's to you, here's to me, here's to our new home!" One winter afternoon in our favorite restaurant, there was Florida in our future while I was licking at the foam on the fluted glass, biting the rind and licking sugar, waiting for what was promised: the maraschino cherry, ever-sweet every time.
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