Praise for Floating:
"Powerful, articulate, and absolutely wonderful"
Kimberla Lawson Roby, Author of Too Much of a Good Thing and Casting the First Stone
"With Floating, Nicole Bailey-Williams has crafted another poignant tale with beauty and freshness that rivals her debut, A Little Piece of Sky."
E. Lynn Harris, Author of What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
"Rhythmic and inviting, poignant and heartbreaking, lyrical and lilting, FLOATING is one of the best books I have read this year."
The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
Praise for A Little Piece of Sky:
“An eloquently told story." - Detroit Free Press
“Compelling. . . . a welcome addition to contemporary African-American fiction." —Black Issues Book Review
A young biracial woman seeks to unlock the secrets of her past in Bailey-Williams's ambitious but overwrought second novel (after A Little Piece of Sky). Philadelphia native Shanna Johnson is suspended between the competing worlds of her mother Elizabeth's wealthy Main Line family and the tough urban streets on which her father, James, was raised. Elizabeth holds their fragile family together, until she abruptly abandons them one day, leaving nine-year-old Shanna in James's emotionally distant care. Ten years later, Shanna is a student at Temple University, earning extra money as a photographer. One afternoon she notices handsome fellow student Lionel Jackson, and the two begin a relationship, despite Lionel's condescending attitude ("You're the kind of woman who belongs on the arm of a politician.... You'd just stand there by his side looking pretty"). Shanna's doubts about Lionel are confirmed when she learns he has abandoned his own child, and she responds by seducing his roommate, then exploiting his tendency to drink too much. When she is badly injured in a car accident, the authorities notify Elizabeth, who provides physical and emotional healing and jump-starts Shanna's career with an introduction to an influential publisher. As the pieces of Shanna's past fall into place, she learns that her parents' marriage was not the first meeting of the two families-a violent episode has haunted them for generations. Bailey-Williams paints a knowing picture of the City of Brotherly Love, but breathy prose ("Hope swirled in my head the next day when I awoke"), self-conscious shifts into poetry and unconvincing dramatics muddy this tale of a Philly girl's search for her place in the world. Agent, Peter Miller. (Apr. 13) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Mixed race and mixed feelings-way too many feelings. Shanna is the daughter of a rich white woman and a working-class black man whose troubled marriage dissolved when her mother walked out. And why was that? Oh, dear heart, ask not, for first the cruel indifference of coarse schoolfellows must be explored and their unfeeling remarks memorialized in bad free verse. Let us now walk the streets of Philadelphia, lost in plangent memories of younger days, though of course it is pointed out that Shanna's soul was always old. Back to the plot and at least one obvious reason for the divorce: mother and father were very different in so many ways! (Reader, brace yourself for precious prose of a type not seen in fiction for about a hundred years.) Mother's skin is "buttermilk" to Father's "coal," her voice "tiny bells" to his "boom," etc. Shanna must unravel the secrets of their intertwined pasts, and ask a lot of stagy questions. Why did Mother leave her monied Main Line home? What secret wounds made her cry "crystal-like" tears? What is love? Will Shanna find the answer if she stares at her ceiling and its decorative stars? Are the stars ever lonely like her? And if they met and joined, would they "trail orgasmic star juice across the heavens, leaving a trail for us to remember that there once stood a refulgent, brilliant star that was the brightest the sky had to offer?" Yes, a love interest soon juices up Shanna's moony reveries: hunky Lionel, who can't seem to escape the 'hood or his own memories of a troubled childhood. To her credit, the author gets a lot more real on the black side of this story, especially when she touches on the racist horrors of the rural South. Still, it's not enough tocounteract all the sensitive hooey. An overwrought and unconvincing second effort from Bailey-Williams (A Little Piece of Sky, 2002).Agent: Peter Miller/PMA Literary & Film Management, Inc.