Fort Starlight

( 2 )

Overview

Broke and stranded in a half-finished tract house in a swamp, Ida Overdorff discovers the strange community around her—a millionaire living in a tree house, two feral child thieves. Ida clings to her dream of returning to New York while weathering storms both meteorological and emotional, and comes to understand that nobody's luck—even hers—is all bad.

Claudia Zuluaga's fiction has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Lost Magazine, JMWW, Linnaean Street, and the Best of the Web ...

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Fort Starlight

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Overview

Broke and stranded in a half-finished tract house in a swamp, Ida Overdorff discovers the strange community around her—a millionaire living in a tree house, two feral child thieves. Ida clings to her dream of returning to New York while weathering storms both meteorological and emotional, and comes to understand that nobody's luck—even hers—is all bad.

Claudia Zuluaga's fiction has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Lost Magazine, JMWW, Linnaean Street, and the Best of the Web series. Zuluaga is a lecturer in the English department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) in New York City.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - S. Kirk Walsh
Sun-beaten stretches of wetlands, empty real estate dreams and a duplicitous developer bring together a mismatched cast of lost souls in Zuluaga's entertaining debut…Fort Starlight is a moving story of half-recovered dreams and reconfigurations of pseudo-families, but Zuluaga's prose is strongest when she writes about the intersections of nature and man in this strange pocket of Florida.
From the Publisher

“A moving story of half-recovered dreams and reconfigurations of pseudo-families.”
—S. Kirk Walsh, The New York Times Book Review

“Zuluaga’s prose is delicate and artful, creating inviting depths from which each reader can draw his or her own meaning.”
—Amber Peckham, Booklist

"Zuluaga’s absorbing, expertly written debut explores the intersection of dreams and reality in the bizarre wilderness of Florida’s wetlands...Zuluaga’s portrayal of what happens to dreams deferred is beautifully executed." —Publishers Weekly

"The great joy of reading this novel was to be steeped in place, its blackbirds and alligators, its grasslands and rivers, the storms which blew in with regularity, but also for its indelible cast of characters, misfits all, who I grew to love as they forged on with pioneer hope, sowed the grace of second chances, and displayed the generous care of family beyond blood. Claudia Zuluaga has written a powerful novel, rare in its elegance, and Fort Starlight introduces a wonderful new voice into the world of literature."
—Alan Heathcock, author of Volt

“Claudia Zuluaga knows the real Florida, that wild, un-Disneyfied place where people from all over have come to chase their dreams into tenuous subdivisions on lush and mucky land. In her stunning first novel, Zuluaga sets in motion a tense, multi-layered drama which plays out in the barely drained swamps, revealing a fragile and beautiful ecosystem of vivid, eccentric, and absolutely believable characters. Fort Starlight is a stunning explosion of a novel. I savored every word of it.”
—Elizabeth Stuckey-French, author of The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady

“Claudia Zuluaga has created a heady, humid world that feels part tropical fairy tale and part economic cautionary tale. In her gifted hands, Florida's natural world feels as riveting as the hopeful but hard-pressed characters who populate its tenuous landscape. Fort Starlight is both beautiful and strange, a mesmerizing and singular novel.”
—Michelle Wildgen, author of Bread and Butter and You're Not You

“Claudia Zuluaga has given us a heart-felt page turner out of a parched housing development in South Florida. Reminiscent of Alice Hoffman’s Turtle Moon, Zuluaga manages to hold onto the drama and suspense of her story and, at the same time, shared with us her big, generous heart. We care for her characters and their crazy midsummer’s night dream the way she cares for them. This makes it all the more difficult to believe that this is the work of a debut novelist and not that of an old hand. In other words she knows how to spin a yarn and it was a pleasure to be caught up for a time in her web.”
—Mary Morris, author of Revenge

Publishers Weekly
Zuluaga’s absorbing, expertly written debut explores the intersection of dreams and reality in the bizarre wilderness of Florida’s wetlands. Ida Overdorff, 24, is just passing through the stalled development of Fort Starlight to sell a piece of land before moving to New York City to make it big as a professional baker. But when a corrupt developer takes off with her money, she has to contend with having her future placed on hold. Living in an abandoned and unfinished house, Ida encounters an equally adrift cast of characters: Peter, a rich man’s son escaping his legacy; Nancy, who has put off retirement to care for her terminally ill great-niece; Carter and Donnie, a pair of dirty and neglected children; and Ryan and Lloyd, a gay couple on the rocks who offer Ida real friendship. Ida struggles to recover from her mistakes, and while Fort Starlight doesn’t offer much besides swamps and alligators, it lends her newfound perspective and a lesson that blessings can come in unexpected places and people. This novel explores well-tread territory, but its unusual setting in a stillborn real-estate development sets it apart. Zuluaga’s portrayal of what happens to dreams deferred is beautifully executed. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938126130
  • Publisher: Engine Books
  • Publication date: 9/10/2013
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 964,680
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Claudia Zuluaga's fiction has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Lost Magazine, JMWW, and Linnaean Street and was included in Dzanc Books' Best of the Web series. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is a fulltime Lecturer in the English Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) in New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 28, 2013

    2013 has been a wonderful year for books. This is one of the won

    2013 has been a wonderful year for books. This is one of the wonderful ones. Ida reminds me of Alice down the rabbit hole.
    Only the rabbit hole is South Florida. Claudia Zuluaga takes me back to my childhood in how she notices and describes things 
    like only an innocent child could. 
    But, this is an adult novel. It will pull at you and shake you. Its root theme lies in how we may not change ourselves, but the environment
    and circumstance, if we're open to it, can change us in a wondrous way.  Please, Ms. Zuluaga, I'd like another!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    I really enjoyed this novel. The author does an exceptional job

    I really enjoyed this novel. The author does an exceptional job setting the scene - you can feel the heat, see the landscape and, even, hear the sounds. Her characters are strong, awkward, wonderful, quirky...you find yourself relating a little bit to pieces of each of them. The relationships between the characters aren't predictable and neither is the ending. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. This review doesn't really do the book justice. Read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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