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Float Up, Sing Down

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529434507

Price: £18.99

ON SALE: 6th February 2024

Genre: Fiction & Related Items

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From National Book Award Finalist Laird Hunt, a masterful collection of interwoven stories capturing one summer’s day in Reagan-era Indiana.

Candy Wilson has forgotten to buy the paprika. Turner Davis needs to get his zinnias in. Della Dorner told her mother she was going to Milky Freeze, but that’s not where she’s really headed on her new Schwinn five-speed.

Float Up, Sing Down is the story of a single day. But in that day, how much teeming life! The residents of this rural town have their routines, their preferences, their joys, grudges, and regrets. The old-timers savor past triumphs, cast back to lives circumscribed and defined by the World Wars, wonder what might have been. Youngsters covet cars, karate moves, kissing; they writhe in the first blushes of love or pain or independence. Gossip is paramount. Lives are entwined. Retired sheriffs climb corn bins and muse on lost love, French teachers throw firecrackers out of barn windows, and teenagers borrow motorcycles to ride the back roads.

Each of the fourteen stories of Float Up, Sing Down follows one character’s ‘day-in-the-life’ in one of Hunt’s most beloved and enduring landscapes. As the book unfolds these lives echo and glance off of one another with elegance and warmth, a tenderness born of strength. In the tradition of Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Elizabeth Strout, and Edward P. Jones, this is a symphony of souls, a masterful portrait of both loneliness and community by one of our great limners of American experience.

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What a delight to spend a day with the inhabitants of Bright Creek, their longings and lusts, their memories. Laird Hunt writes so brilliantly about the quotidien - why a woman would leave a tin of paprika on a gravestone; why a boy would be devoted to this headband - and in doing so, he reveals so much else. Float Up, Sing Down is a shimmering, magical book.
Margot Livesey
An entertaining work of exceptional vitality.
Kirkus Starred Review
An ingeniously structured depiction of small-town life in rural Indiana, Float Up, Sing Down dignifies the ordinary people at the center of its stories, illuminating their secrets and desires in gently comedic ways that manage, too, to pierce us. Reminiscent of Joan Silber's work, this is a hopeful and poignant portrait of the intertwined lives that make a community. A miraculous puzzle of a collection.
Cara Blue Adams, author of You Never Get It Back
One of Laird Hunt's many gifts is his ability to transport readers to small towns filled with the most fascinating, yet ordinary, characters. He has done it again in this brilliant collection, which is skillfully linked by time and place. In the pages of Float Up, Sing Down, you'll meet a retired farmer closely observing his neighbors while thinking back on war days, a woman who finds great comfort in spending time in a cornfield, and a host of other complex and memorable people. I love this book.
De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of DECENT PEOPLE and IN WEST MILLS
Hunt has mastered a style that feels both traditional and fresh.
Financial Times
An absolute delight . . . Brimming with easy-going charm, there's real heart and hurt here, too, as Hunt unspools the hopes and dreams of his beguiling characters.
Daily Mail
Prize-winning material . . . If it is first-hand experience that gives his stories such authenticity, it is his literary skills that shape them so seamlessly into such an entertaining and rewarding collection.
Irish Examiner
Brimming with charm . . . an absolute delight
Daily Mail
The stories in Float Up, Sing Down are compassionate and universal.