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Changing Tides Paperback – July 29, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; Reprint edition (July 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758210604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758210609
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,648,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ford (Full Circle; Last Summer) bridges the gap between gay romance and mainstream fiction in his latest. Ben Ransome, a 40-something marine biologist living modestly in Monterey, Calif., is anxious about his 16-year-old daughter's summer stay. It's been nine years since they've seen each other, and when Caddie arrives, she's a bit icy toward her wayward father. Ford explores vividly and honestly a teen girl's longing for love and a place in the world. He then furthers the theme of finding one's self when Ben meets Hudson, a Ph.D. candidate in town to investigate an unfinished Steinbeck manuscript. The men bond over stories of Steinbeck's Monterey and instantly become pals. As Caddie finds a man of her own and a heretofore straight Ben grapples with his feelings for Hudson, Ben also learns a few things about fatherhood. A deft sense of place and a handle on romance—both Ben's and Caddie's—that's neither sappy nor shallow will help set this one apart. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Single parenting, even for a summer, can be challenging, as divorced dad Ben Ransome, a marine biologist less in tune with drylanders than with those in the ocean, learns when his 16-year-old daughter gets reacquainted with him in Monterey, California. Named for the first species Ben found on his own, Cadlina—Caddie—has been sent by her exasperated mom for an attitude readjustment, sans pot, sans cell phone (lest she plot an escape with her friends), but not without pills to dull the pain of staying in an isolated, dilapidated beach house that reminds her "of a diseased tooth." Grad student Hudson Jones is in Monterey, too, writing a thesis on a presumably lost, homoerotic Steinbeck manuscript. When Ben surprises himself by falling for Hudson, lives and worlds entwine and collide in a moving tale of multiple comings-of-age. Including beautifully detailed descriptions of watery depths—clearly heartfelt labors of love—Ford's latest should delight armchair scuba divers as much as the usual gay readership. Scott, Whitney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michael Thomas Ford is the author of more than fifty books in genres ranging from humor to horror, literary fiction to nonfiction. His work for adult readers includes the best-selling novels What We Remember, Changing Tides, Full Circle, Looking for It and Last Summer, and his five essay collections in the "Trials of My Queer Life" series. As a writer for young adults he is the author of Suicide Notes and Z (forthcoming in 2010), and under the name Isobel Bird he wrote the popular "Circle of Three" series. In 2009 he signed a 3-book deal with Random House for a series featuring Jane Austen as a modern-day vampire. The first book in the series, Jane Bites Back, will be published in January, 2010. His work has been nominated for 11 Lambda Literary Awards, twice winning for Best Humor Book and twice for Best Romance Novel. He was also nominated for a Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award (for his novel The Dollhouse That Time Forgot) and a Gaylactic Spectrum Award (for his short story "Night of the Werepuss").

Customer Reviews

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Great story line and character development.
The ending almost came too abruptly, almost seemed unfinished, but in thinking about it, Ford could have written more, but the story didn't really demand it.
J. Erik Johnson
I've been a fan of Michael Thomas Ford's work for quite a while now, and have read some of his hard-to-find work.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jak Klinikowski on September 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
CHANGING TIDES is slower in getting off the ground than Michael Thomas Ford's previous novels. However, Ford has more to say about human strength and frailty here than he has in his earlier books, and like great literary masters of the past, he takes his time in setting up this seemingly simple but truly complicated story.

All of Ford's novels have been beautifully crafted and well realized, but this time around he's scaled back the scope of the narrative to look more deeply into the nature of relationships, specifically between a father, his daughter, and a young man looking to expose a buried truth.

Ben Ransome is a marine biologist, living in Monterey California, more comfortable with the denizens of the deep than human beings. He's shut himself off from others and in so doing, shut himself down. He has no real idea of his own true nature. His work is quite literally his life

Into Ben's narrow world come two very different individuals, his sixteen year old rebellious daughter, Caddie, dumped in his lap by an ex-wife weary of dealing with her, and a young gay man, Hudson Jones, on an academic search for hidden truths behind the relationship between local legend, novelist John Steinbeck, and his best friend, scientist Ed Ricketts. Ben must deal both with Caddie's open hostility towards him, and his growing feelings for Hudson.

This novel is a great deal more subtle than Ford's prior offerings, and many of his readers may find that fact disappointing. I must confess that it took me almost the first third of the book before I really understood where Ford was going. But once I began to look more closely at what Ford was actually saying and less at the surface story, I found his direction enthralling.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ben Ransome is a middle-aged marine biologist in Monterey CA, who has substituted devotion to his job for any semblance of a social or love life. Into this solitary cocoon comes his rebellious 16 year old daughter, Caddie, whom her mother dropped off to live with him for the summer. Ben has no parenting skills, as was obvious during his marriage that broke up nine years before, and Caddie mistakes his seeming indifference for not loving her, which is far from the truth. A distraction comes along in the person of Hudson Jones, a young ambitious graduate student who came to Monterey to do research for his masters thesis on a personal relationship with another man may have influenced John Steinbeck's writing. Hudson and Ben become good friends, and perhaps more than friends, as suspected first by Caddie.

I have long been a fan of Ford's novels, and consider his "Full Circle" as one of my favorites of all time. "Changing Tides" is similarly well written, and skillfully explores the nuances of a developing friendship and romance in a situation where it seems illogical and possibly foolish to disturb what currently passes for a satisfactory life to risk it all on what it might become. At first read, the book seems wordy and rambling as much as 100 pages in, establishing the characters and seemingly providing lots of technical details about Hudson's research into the life of Steinbeck and Ben's observations about unusual aquatic life. It doesn't become clear until later that these actually double as metaphors for the situation that Ben, Hudson and Caddie find themselves in, putting those emotions in perspective.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mel S. on September 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ford has another winner with Changing Tides.

Ben is a successful marine biologist. However, he is a mature man who doesn't seem to know who he is because his life has been wrapped up in his research. He has not really had successful relationships. Then he meets Hudson who comes to the area to do research on Steinbeck. They strike up a friendship. Almost without them realizing it, their friendship evolves to a higher level. Ben is forced to rethink his past relationships and especially his views on his own sexuality. As a result, he emotionally matures and faces a much brighter future.

Ford is an excellent writer. Anything he produces is worth reading. Changing Tides is no exception. His knowledge of diving and marine life is obvious as he creates an interesting backdrop to the story. He can always be counted upon to develop full and memorable characters. His development of the teenage daughter is this story is spot on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Buke on February 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's how I felt after reading this steaming pile, manuscript. I don't know what it's like to never finish a book--to me, every book of Thomas is a "can't-put-it-down-must-read." This piece, bound matter made me wish, with every turn of a page, either for the end or a nice sharp ice-pick in my skull. ANYTHING to rid myself of the misery. It is neither great nor commanding in its poorly drawn attempt to tell a father, daughter story. It is really not what I thought it would be. It is grand to be certain. It is epic for sure. But is it really good? No. And this is unfortunate. I am a rabid fan of Thomas's work, unfortunately, this is a superficial work. The characters lack any real human depth. I wasn't repulsed or turned off by the characters; actually, I just didn't care about them at all.
It took me a while to read this book, not because it is long (which it is - in my opinion, too long), but because it didn't grab me. With Last Summer, Looking For It and Full Circle (my favorite) I literally could not put them down. The characters in those books are so engaging that I was completely immersed in the rich tapestry he wove.

I found that with Changing Tides, I felt sadness while I read it, but not for the characters, rather for the author, who seemed to have not really cared for his own characters.

I'm sorry Michael. I'm a huge fan, just not of this book.
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