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Floodmarkers Paperback – June 19, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Brown's hip, assured debut, a series of vignettes adds up to a keen portrait of a small North Carolina town. It's September 21, 1989, in Lystra, N.C., and Hurricane Hugo is bearing down on residents and visitors alike, including shy Tennessean Cliff, in town for the wedding of his cousin, with whom he had a tender, confusing adolescent affair; high school girls Grier and Fletcher, best friends and rivals for the affection of Fletcher's brother, the be-mohawked Mike; Evelyn Graham, for whom œfunerals were social events whose invitations were printed in The News & Observer obituaries; and Pat Doublehead, a Cherokee veterinarian with an eye for little boys. Brown, a former journeyman musician, slides easily between his characters, rendering them in believable relief, from Cliff's romanticism to Fletcher's calm competence in an emergency. Though none of the players gets much time on stage—the novel is short and the character list long—Brown makes the most of them, revealing their secrets and tragedies with careful, confident economy. Think Winesburg, Ohio simultaneously pared down and amped up, read to the sound of a jangly Strat. (July)
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“What Brown does so expertly is to summon the brief, intimate moments—the single word shared between two characters, the simple gesture that quietly reveals hope.” —The New York Times

"Like Sherwood Anderson, Brown is essentially a still-life artist; he eschews plot for portraiture, the linear for the lateral." —BookForum

Floodmarkers is . . . about the life of our times, stories starring lovable slackers and beautiful failures from a generation we haven’t even bothered to name yet. And there are dogs in it—lots of them, both dead and alive—which helped clinch its spot on my List of Favorite Books, right after The Moviegoer and just before Cathedral. Smart and funny and sexy, Floodmarkers is more than just art: it’s art on a motorcycle.”
—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish

“Nic Brown is the most talented new writer I’ve come across. This first book of his is reminiscent of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio in both its structure and its tragi-comedic view of a small town and the subsequent sufferings and joys of its inhabitants. Brown’s prose is beautiful and his empathy and insight into the human condition is breathtaking.”
—Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir! and The Extra Man

Floodmarkers is funny, warm, insightful, and very, very moving. Nic Brown has written a beautiful depiction of contemporary Southern life in a small town—a compassionate portrait of hopeful, striving people. (Not to mention the sex, drugs, and hurricane.)”
—Chris Offutt, author of No Heroes

“Nic Brown’s writing is so smooth it slips into your veins. Read the opening pages of Floodmarkers and you’re hooked on these interwoven stories that are as volatile, unpredictable and irresistible as the hurricane that holds them together. When the storm rips the lid off this humble town it exposes a motley ensemble of flawed, hopeful and quietly desperate young characters. There is more humanity overflowing on these pages than on most works of fiction twice its size.” —Jim Lynch, author of The Highest Tide

“Nic Brown is a wonderful new writer and Floodmarkers is a wonderful new book. Brown’s prose is full of snap, crackle and pop. His characters are so vivid they jump off the page, and the dialogue is some of the best I’ve read in years. He gives us an important vision of the contemporary South in a time of prosperity and woe, yet the stories are funny and full of life. Floodmarkers is simply delicious. Bon Appetit!” —Randall Kenan, author of Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

“Nic Brown writes with a clear eye and deep sympathies. The stories in this fine first collection show a writer already beginning to hit what promises to be a very big stride.” —Pam Durban, author of So Far Back

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; Original edition (June 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582435065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582435060
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,908,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nic Brown is the author of In Every Way, Doubles, and Floodmarkers, which was selected as an Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Harvard Review, Garden & Gun, Glimmer Train, and Epoch, among many other publications. A graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has been the John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi and currently teaches at Clemson University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebekah L. Cowell on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Of all the books that made their debut this summer, Floodmarkers, is the one that left a lasting impression, and a permanent spot on my bookshelf.

I devoured it quickly, handing it off to my favorite barista (at my favorite coffee shop) the next morning - READ this, I said. (she did, loved it, and passed along to another friend!)

Brown's voice, is refreshingly honest.
He's not trying to woo anyone with clever words, and metaphors and his ability to turn a pretty phrase (though he can do all of that)! He's the kind of author you forget exists because the character's voices are so strong.
Brown says it like it is - the bad, the ugly, the profane and oddly wonderful.
Twelve stories, linked by an hurricane - not just any hurricane, 1984's monster; Hurricane Hugo.
Don't assume that this is a book solely centered on a destructive/act of nature.
Sure, an auspice weatherman gives us a report in his chirpy(don't give a damn) sing-song voice between slices of human drama ... but that's the touchstone that propels the characters forward - you're dying to find out - will the hurricane destroy before the human's do?
Take the characters out of the eye of the hurricane, and place them in another inclement disaster zone - and you will have the same age old stories: love, death, fear, longing, passion and new beginnings.

Floodmarkers, is a fabulous read with incredible snapshots of what it means to be human.
Get a copy, read, pass along and wait (like me) for the Indy film!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Callie Warner on October 16, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
I read Floodmarkers on a rainy day and couldn't put it down! It made me laugh at such things as his description of hot dogs. It made me feel like home at such descriptions as Meats and Treats, Tripp Ln, the Barn Dinner Theatre!! God, it was all familiar and all brilliantly written.
I loved the timeframe of the book and he really took me into the lives of the people. I was crying and laughing and loving the depth of compassion he revealed for each character.
I've never written a review before so I'm gonna stop now. But, I really hope everyone reads this book, especially on a rainy day! It'll take away the glooms and dooms and you'll be sad when the stories and lives of those folks are over. At least I was! Keep writing Nic Brown! And thanks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rangeley Wallace on November 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I picked up Floodmarkers I didn't have particularly high expectations. First book, interconnected stories. But within a few pages, I was hooked. Nic Brown plops his absolutely pitch perfect characters into incredible, revealing, often heart breaking situations. You'll want to throw a life preserver to these lost men and women -- not to save them from Hurricane Hugo, the devastating storm that connects the stories, but to save them from themselves and those they love.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a series of interlinked short stories, all taking place around Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina in the mid 1980's. I found that he could convey vast amounts of information about a character in a very few economical details and to some extent the novel is a series of character sketches under stress rather than a plot driven narrative structure. There is a vast range of characters with a wide range of issues, relationships, and problems. Don't let this stop you however since each character is really only on the stage of the novel for a short period and then the story and storm move on. The oncoming flood in the novel tends to up stress upon already stressful relationships and thus heighten all emotions, a strategy that Brown used well. Brown writes well with a compelling style that is never boring or slow. Many of the characters are high school and college age young people and Brown captures their drinking, drug using, romances and sexual adventures well. I can imagine that this book would be especially appealing to folks 18 to 30. There has been some comparison of Floodmarkers to Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson. I don't really agree with the comparison other than the structure of the novels. Both use short character studies as the focus of a series of short stories that are all held together because they are related to folks living in the same town. Anderson's Winesburg Ohio is a dark deterministic claustrophobic downer of a novel as compared to Brown's Floodmarkers which is more revealing of the conflict between determinism and free will, of dependency and upward mobility, and between acceptance or rejection of life's circumstances. One character is a child molester who has learned to control and channel his impulses into pornography instead of molesting his young nephew.Read more ›
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