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Flood: A Novel Hardcover – June 27, 2017
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Melissa Scholes Young is immensely talented. Her eye is clear and her powers are on high. I read Flood with admiration and growing excitement. I so strongly recommend her. Read her, now!―Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North and The Water Museum
Melissa Scholes Young's first novel delivers two unforgettable characters: the exhausted but not down-for-the-count Laura Brooks running back to her hometown of Hannibal, Missouri and the Mississippi River - both looking to climb out of their confines and willing to become displaced in the process. Fans of Mark Twain's beloved work will recognize Flood's conflicted characters and endearing contradictions. Like Twain, Laura Brooks tells the truth, mainly...―Dr. Cindy Lovell, Executive Director, Mark Twain House & Museum
Melissa Scholes Young knows how to tell a story, one that captivates and charms. She also knows the land and the heart's attachment to it. Flood is a novel about coming home, which in this case, is Hannibal, Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi River, the land of Mark Twain and his unforgettable characters, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. This novel's take on the question of whether to 'light out for the territory' is a wonderful read, one that will make you think about what it means to call a place home.―Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever and Late One Night
Flood is a beautifully written novel that explores perennial questions of identity and belonging. I say perennial not because the novel beats a well-worth path, but because these questions are existential and urgent. Scholes Young is a thoughtful realist who creates a rich fictive dream without sacrificing character and voice. In Flood, she avoids the pitfalls of rural caricature by refusing the hyperbolic dialect and false cadences common in contemporary fiction that privileges place. Her characters come to life through patient accumulation not grotesque gesture. The prose is sharp, full of momentum, and yet restrained. There is no false nostalgia here, only complexity.―Stephanie Grant, author of The Passion of Alice and Map of Ireland
Melissa Scholes Young's debut novel Flood bubbles up from the home ground of Mark Twain. Those storied banks of the Mississippi crest anew with all the humor and hunger of Hannibal's current haves and have-nots-and this time it's women in the leading roles, YAY! The self-exiled Laura Brooks is running retrograde, returning home to tightrope walk a personal levee of luggage and love among family and friends. Down here the water's thick as the blood, and Flood's pages will swell and rush over you with their deep yearnings. This is fertile ground indeed, and Miss Scholes Young is brimming with Twain's loam and legacy.―Marc Nieson, author of Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love and Landscape
Flood is character-driven fiction that appeals on both a gut and an emotional level. Melissa Scholes Young tackles difficult situations and never veers into cliché. Her endings are sublime. And her characters are as believable as anybody's friends and neighbors. I marvel at her poetic language, her accumulation of details, and her uncanny ability to key on exactly what it is that makes a story. She has admirable range and creates real people with depth, plus plot points that stick in the heart and mind.
―Richard Peabody, author of The Richard Peabody Reader, editor and publisher of Gargoyle Magazine and Paycock Press
A dazzling work as wide and turbulent as the Mississippi itself. Flood delivers a seductive sense of belonging and intimacy before ultimately breaking your heart. Young takes on big themes of identity, family, and the idea of home with a riveting mix of honesty and enchantment.―Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan's Inheritance
Melissa Scholes Young's charming, energetic debut brings to life a town steeped in and hindered by its own rich history. Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher are still alive and well in modern day Hannibal, Missouri, and the rising Mississippi River provides the mercurial backdrop for a young woman's quest to determine whether home is ultimately where she belongs.―Susan Coll, author of The Stager
Flood is an absolute delight. Melissa Sholes Young captures a time, place and town with authenticity, humor, and an obvious love for her characters. A great debut by a wonderful new voice!―Rebecca Barry, bestselling author of Later, at the Bar
This debut is a wonderful story of home, hope, and the ties that bind us to family.―Publishers Weekly
After running from her hometown of Hannibal, MO, Laura Brooks has returned, broken and depressed from losing her job and a pregnancy. Not much has changed at home: the town faces yet another torrential flood that could ruin families; her mother and brother live in the same rundown trailer; and her best friend Rose is still wild and irresponsible. And then there's Sammy, Laura's old love whom she left without a word when the levees broke and the town flooded ten years ago. Facing embarrassment and criticism, Laura struggles to put her life back on track even while she's pulled into Rose's divorce battle, her brother's drug habit, and Sammy's rekindled interest in her. A new job and increasing responsibilities might keep Laura in town, but will the memories of their old love and her dreams of something better get in the way of rebuilding her life in Hannibal? Young will leave readers thinking about their own flood of memories in this debut novel. Perfect for those who liked Tommy Lee Tyson's They Tell Me of a Home and H.P. Munrow's Saving Grace.―Library Journal
About the Author
Melissa Scholes Young was born and raised in Hannibal, Missouri and still proudly claims it as her hometown. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Washington Post, Narrative, Ploughshares, Poets & Writers, and other literary journals. She teaches at American University in Washington, D.C. FLOOD is her first novel.
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Interlaced with the fictional narrative are fascinating facts about Mark Twain’s years and legacy in Hannibal, which complement the novel’s plot.
This book explores the heartache of imperfect love and the push and pull of leaving one’s home. In terms of tone, humor, and memorable characters, Flood reminds me of a Midwestern cousin to The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.
I was completely immersed in the conflict and deliciously conflicted at the end about how I wanted the story to turn out. The ending Young gives readers is even more satisfying than one I could have predicted.
I finished this book last night and have not stopped thinking about it.
Hannibal, Missouri, the home of Mark Twain, and the setting of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and the scene of floods. In fact the people on the wrong side of the tracks, check the water level daily. Laura Brooks understands this land, her hometown and her people. She left ten years ago after a flood that changed her feelings about the man she loved. Here she is again, downsized from her nursing assistant job at a hospital in Florida, and an unfortunate love affair. She needs to make a new start, not knowing how. She moves into her old room, in her mother's trailer. She and her mother had issues, and were not close as they once were. So, here she is, what is it she will do?
Many say you can't go home again, and often that is true. What you remember is often much different than reality. Finding yourself is difficult at any time, but being with friends and family can sometimes make a difference. Laura has little money and no real prospects. What she does have is a good friend and an aunt who will listen and not judge.
The author, Melissa Scholes Young, writes with the knowledge of her hometown, Hannibal. A small town filled with all of the issues everytown has, sex, drugs and rock and roll. This is a smart, contemporary novel. There are the small details about the characters that are incorporated into imperfect but decent people. There are complicated backstories of some characters that give this novel some depth. The author does well in setting scenes, describing the details. These details gave the novel a gravitas. This is an engaging novel, and I enjoyed it.
Recommended. prisrob 02-11-17
Laura Brooks left Hannibal, Missouri right after her high school graduation. A decade later she’s back, adrift, with no plan other than (in her words) “Find new job, get new life”. Laura’s come home just in time to get caught in the middle of her best friend Rose’s acrimonious divorce and her brother Trey’s downward spiral. She also needs to confront the reason she ran away in the first place, and much of that has to do with her old boyfriend, Sammy.
This book is very well written; I was surprised to learn that it’s the author’s first novel. The characterization is excellent – these people really came alive for me. The dialog had a natural feel to it; nothing felt stilted or forced. While there were a few surprises, mostly this is just a quiet, thoughtful reflection on family, relationships and the things that bind us to our pasts and, occasionally, keep us from moving forward. I really enjoyed this book and can wholeheartedly recommend it.
Occasional swearing/strong language. Adult situations but no explicit sexual content.
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1. The author takes on the tremendous challenge of delving into issues of class and race that others stray away from because it's so...Read more