Float Up, Sing Down
by Laird Hunt
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Pub Date 6 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 12 Feb 2024
Quercus Books, riverrun
FOR FANS OF ELIZABETH STROUT & WILLA CATHER
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.