Cover image for Floating in a most peculiar way
Floating in a most peculiar way
Racine, David, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Midlothian, VA : Van Neste Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
232 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Being fixed/mended

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Can you go back to the part of your life that still seems to define you? Can you send your teenager back in your place? A new generation's generation gap is at the center of Racine's resonant first novel. (His short fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, and other journals.) Janelle spent more time demonstrating than studying at Brandeis; then she and husband Tom wandered for years, finally settling (settling!) in Mozart, Georgia, with son Zak. Now Zak's due to leave for Brandeis, and neither he nor Mom is quite sure what this departure means. Racine has a graceful touch; he treats characters' doubts respectfully (if a bit skeptically), playing off their personal problems against the encroaching waters of the flooding Lower Circumstance River, which disrupts the family's planned drive to Boston and forces the characters to improvise their farewells. (The music and substances of Janelle and Tom's youth have a quasi-sacramental role here, so don't recommend this to patrons who just say no!) --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

Racine's engaging debut is a generation gap pas de trois, focusing on Janelle and Tom, who are coping with their son's imminent departure for college. This event proves to be a traumatic catalyst for Janelle's panicky reassessment of how she and Tom have lived their lives. There was a time when they were nomadic hippies and everything they owned fit into a steamer trunk. Now, a quarter of a century later, Tom has a career in computers and Janelle fears their complacent comfort and dependence upon technology. When Angel, a charismatic revolutionary and former lover of Janelle's from the good-and-stoned days, calls and invites himself over for a visit, Janelle worries about how their lives will look to him. Racine's patchouli-scented homage to the generation of 1960s activists who find themselves mired in the mega-corporate world of the 1990s where the teenagers say things like "Your mom, man, she's a throwback" is a charming m‚lange of nostalgic idealism and humorous realism, wryly acknowledging the "aggressively bad folk music" that came with the good. Racine truthfully captures the irony that the most exaggeratedly mellow typesÄe.g., JanelleÄare frequently the biggest control freaks through amusingly patronizing and jaunty banter between Janelle and her MTV-weaned son. The novel's primary flaw is a superfluous metaphor involving a flood that courses through the narrative: the turbulent waters creeping up on the family's rural Georgia home echo the rising emotions within. But that's a minor shortcoming in what is otherwise an enjoyable and insightful work that affectionately skewers '60s idealism while honoring the good intentions of those boomers who courted revolution and wound up puzzled citizens adjusting to middle age. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Racine's first novel tries too hard to draw parallels between a son going away to college and a mother reliving her own college days during the time of peace, love, and Bob Dylan. The destructive flooding of their small Georgia town coincides with the destruction of their family's bonds, creating another clich‚d connection. Though the writing is strong and the characters are fleshed out, the story is undermined by trite comparisons between family and flood, and mother and sonÄthe latter vividly clear in the last scene, when they smoke pot together as a rite of passage for both of them. Recommended for public libraries with a large baby-boomer population who would like a walk down memory lane and who can relate to this mother's confusing her own past with her son's future.ÄCecilia R. Cygnar, Niles P.L. Dist., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.