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Floodmarkers

List Price: $14.95

June 19, 2009 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.2, 208 Pages | ISBN 9781582435060
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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.” —New York Times

Lystra, North Carolina. A fictional town full of very real people who survive the attack of Hurricane Hugo and then find their bearings in the aftermath—often in wild and hilarious ways.

The days leading up to the impending disaster are not at all unusual—no portents of disaster, no signs of impending calamity. Bryce works his night shift at the hot dog factory, Isaac drives the bus to school, Evelyn attends a funeral. But when the electricity fails in the middle of the night on September 21, 1989, it marks the moment when everything will change: Hugo has arrived.

The storm builds, the wind whips by faster and faster, and interpersonal dramas, grudges, and rivalries are dredged up along with the flotsam and debris. Meanwhile, a small bridge over Buffalo Creek has its own story to tell. Flood markers, painted red, track the height of the water from past rainstorms, and as the creek level rises higher than ever before, so do the emotions of the townspeople.

Alternating between weather forecasts and short stories, Floodmarkers is an exquisitely crafted day-in-the-life of a town. And as Nic Brown has us look bravely at the eye of the storm, he cleverly shows us that human nature can stir up a spectacular tempest all its own.

About Nic Brown

NIC BROWN toured for many years as a professional musician. A graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he now lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Floodmarkers is his first book.

Praise

“In Brown’s hip, assured debut, a series of vignettes adds up to a keen portrait of a small North Carolina town… Brown makes the most of [the characters], revealing their secrets and tragedies with careful, confident economy.” —Publishers Weekly

“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.” —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 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

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!

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