The Floatplane Notebooks (Ballantine Reader's Circle Series)

The Floatplane Notebooks (Ballantine Reader's Circle Series)

by Clyde Edgerton
     
 

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The Copeland family of Listre, North Carolina, goes back a long way. Each family member has a story to tell, and stories to be told about one another. Albert Copeland, the head of the family, writes it all down in the notebooks he started once to track the progress of the floatplanes he built, though they never did fly. Everything about the Copelands is in these books

Overview

The Copeland family of Listre, North Carolina, goes back a long way. Each family member has a story to tell, and stories to be told about one another. Albert Copeland, the head of the family, writes it all down in the notebooks he started once to track the progress of the floatplanes he built, though they never did fly. Everything about the Copelands is in these books. And every one of them has his say. Funny and poignant, a family album of talk and tales, The Floatplane Notebooks shares the best-kept secrets of love, loss, and learning to let go.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Warmly humorous, gossipy, and rich–a book with the soul of a family reunion.”
The New York Times Book Review

The Floatplane Notebooks has all the marks of a master storyteller going straight for the mystery itself. All the marks, that is, of [an] American classic.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Clyde Edgerton is a miner of considerable skill, burrowing into the hillside of humanity to find the ore of characters so pure and so real they might just sit down beside us and tell us a tale.”
The Washington Post Book World

“Edgerton has written a novel beyond our imagination. It belongs next to the family Bible. It belongs in your memory, and quickly. The sheer joy, and restorative powers of the novel, are like no other book that I can think of.”
The Houston Post

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his third novel (after Raney and Walking Through Egypt ), Edgerton again demonstrates his ability to reveal character through sharply etched dialogue and wildly hilarious circumstance. He also achieves a deeper resonance in this story of the blue-collar Copeland family of North Carolina. The voices of various narrators produce a composite family portrait that takes the Copelands from the placid summer of 1956 to the Vietnam War years of the '60s. In Edgerton's deceptively simple prose, we learn about such traditions as grave-cleaning day, the annual hunting trip to Florida and Albert Thatcher's ongoing, seemingly doomed efforts to construct a floatplane with aluminum pontoons. Another narrative voicethat of the wisteria vine that overruns the graveyardalso imparts family secrets; this, however, is a labored device that hampers credibility. In all other respects, the novel is absorbing as the voices obliquely reveal family relationships, personality clashes, sibling rivalry and small-town social mores. But the tale becomes gripping and wrenchingly vivid when Meredith Copeland and his cousin Mark Oakley enlist in the military and are sent to Southeast Asia. Here, too, is when the reader discovers that Edgerton is not a predictable writer; he turns our expectations head over heels, showing how circumstances can change character in surprising ways. This is a mature novel in which Edgerton's subtle mastery of his craft is made increasingly clear. BOMC featured selection; QPBC alternate. (September)
Library Journal
Despite their diversity, the Copelands are drawn together twice each year by recurring rituals of family unitythe spring grave cleaning and the winter trip to visit Uncle Hawk in Florida. By skillfully using six different first-person narrators, Edgerton recounts the family exploits between 1956 and 1971 and provides significant glimpses of family history as far back as the Civil War. The book's focus is on the family as an abiding unit, but a single character who does stand out is Meredith. His mischief provides much of the outrageous humor in early chapters, and his war injuries in Vietnam lead to a painful but moving climax. Like Edgerton's two earlier novels ( Raney, LJ 4/1/85; Walking Across Egypt, LJ 3/15/87), this one should have wide appeal.Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345419064
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/01/1997
Series:
Ballantine Reader's Circle Series
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.04(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.70(d)

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