Following a harrowing job interview in a steam room, a nameless narrator leaves his youthful dreams behind, no longer certain who or what he is. He finds himself at a party talking to a woman he doesn’t know who proves to be his unsatisfied wife. Soon separated but still living in the same apartment, he is threatened by a litigious dachshund and saddled with a stubborn case of erectile dysfunction in a world that seems held together by increasingly mercurial laws and elusive boundaries— if not by the golden bars of a sub-basement apartment offered for rent.
His relationship deepens with an elderly Dutch model maker named Pecheur whose miniature boats are erratically offered for sale in a hard-to-find shop called The Floating World. Enlivened by Pecheur’s dream to tame the destructive forces of the ocean, the narrator begins to find his bearings.
With quiet humor and wisdom, A Floating Life charts its course among images that surprise and disorient. In this urban fantasy, bears cavort in caves in New York’s Central Park, a man can enjoy the pleasures of breast-feeding his own child, and WWII isn’t completely over for some.
A Floating Life is a rollicking, unforgettable, and inventive journey—and it is also a source of insight, solace, and inspiration.
In the Press
“At times, Crawford seems to be channeling Kafka or Borges . . . Odd, offbeat, strangely shimmering.”– KirkusReviews (full review here)
“So artfully written that the world it creates makes sense.”– Booklist (full review here)
“His refreshing style brings surprise and fun back into fiction.”– New York Journal of Books (full review here)
“I loved this novel through which, I suspect, I will discover more meaning in each rereading.”– Dolce Bellezza (full review here)
“If you like novels that make the unconscious visible, then you should really enjoy reading A Floating Life by Tad Crawford.”– Analytical Psychology Club of New York Bulletin (full review here on pages 9 and 10)
“This hallucinatory first novel by Tad Crawford, sends its nameless middle-aged narrator on a surreal odyssey that will entrance lovers of experimental fiction and magic realism.”– Tufts Magazine (full review here)
“I enjoyed this unusual book. It is strewn with symbolism – Jung would have had a field day. On writing this review I realise that I really ought to read it again to see what more I can find.”– Zoe Brooks (full review on Brooks’s Magic Realism blog here)
Publishers Weekly article offers amusing coverage of A Floating Life. Read the full article here.
Praise for A Floating Life
“Talking bears, talking dogs, time travel and a mid-life crisis: Tad Crawford’s brilliantly original and entertaining first novel, A Floating Life, brings South American magical realism to 21st-century America in a mesmerizing story of one man’s search through the realms of myth, history, and the human psyche to explore love, friendship, family ties, vocation and, in the end, what it means to live in an ultimately mysterious universe.
“Tad Crawford is an utterly fearless writer who will and does go wherever his wonderfully anarchic imagination takes him.”— Howard Frank Mosher, author of A Stranger in the Kingdom
Read what others had to say.
Enjoy more fiction from Tad Crawford: “The Kindness of Strangers” appeared in Forge Journal.