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At a time when nothing seems real, it takes something truly unusual to put your life into focus.  When her beloved husband Jackson disappeared without a trace, popular novelist Sia Dane stopped writing, closed down her house, stuffed her heart into a cage, and started floating. It wasn’t the normal response to heartache, but Sia rarely did things the normal way. Exactly one y At a time when nothing seems real, it takes something truly unusual to put your life into focus.  When her beloved husband Jackson disappeared without a trace, popular novelist Sia Dane stopped writing, closed down her house, stuffed her heart into a cage, and started floating. It wasn’t the normal response to heartache, but Sia rarely did things the normal way. Exactly one year, one month, and six days after Jackson’s disappearance, Sia discovers a mysterious man on the beach. He’s mute, unresponsive, and looks as if he has just walked out of the sea. It’s the sort of situation Jackson would have solved with a simple call to the police. But Jackson is gone.   As unreal as he seems, Sia is determined to help this man. Perhaps she can return him to his place in the world—to whoever lost him and loves him. Perhaps she can answer their questions the way no one could answer hers.   But as her friends and family help her winnow her way to the truth, Sia comes to realize that the unfathomable leap between sorrow and healing begins with a single step.  


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At a time when nothing seems real, it takes something truly unusual to put your life into focus.  When her beloved husband Jackson disappeared without a trace, popular novelist Sia Dane stopped writing, closed down her house, stuffed her heart into a cage, and started floating. It wasn’t the normal response to heartache, but Sia rarely did things the normal way. Exactly one y At a time when nothing seems real, it takes something truly unusual to put your life into focus.  When her beloved husband Jackson disappeared without a trace, popular novelist Sia Dane stopped writing, closed down her house, stuffed her heart into a cage, and started floating. It wasn’t the normal response to heartache, but Sia rarely did things the normal way. Exactly one year, one month, and six days after Jackson’s disappearance, Sia discovers a mysterious man on the beach. He’s mute, unresponsive, and looks as if he has just walked out of the sea. It’s the sort of situation Jackson would have solved with a simple call to the police. But Jackson is gone.   As unreal as he seems, Sia is determined to help this man. Perhaps she can return him to his place in the world—to whoever lost him and loves him. Perhaps she can answer their questions the way no one could answer hers.   But as her friends and family help her winnow her way to the truth, Sia comes to realize that the unfathomable leap between sorrow and healing begins with a single step.  

30 review for The Art of Floating

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    Many other novels have dealt with great love, tragic loss and the wrenching, exhausting task of rebuilding one’s life from the ground up, but very few of them manage to pull it off with anything approaching the wit, style and grace of Kristin Bair O’Keeffe in The Art of Floating. One year, one month and six days after her beloved husband disappears without a trace, novelist Sia Dane discovers a beautiful man on the beach, dressed in a soaking, salt-encrusted business suit. She takes him home and Many other novels have dealt with great love, tragic loss and the wrenching, exhausting task of rebuilding one’s life from the ground up, but very few of them manage to pull it off with anything approaching the wit, style and grace of Kristin Bair O’Keeffe in The Art of Floating. One year, one month and six days after her beloved husband disappears without a trace, novelist Sia Dane discovers a beautiful man on the beach, dressed in a soaking, salt-encrusted business suit. She takes him home and calls him Toad. (Of course she does. Did I mention she’s a writer?) He doesn’t speak, but he clearly has been through something horrific. The townspeople, an exceptionally quirky collection of New Englanders, attempt to uncover his story. It’s part mystery, with a dash or two of magical realism, part women’s fiction, yet in many ways this novel defies characterization. It is a bold and adventurous story that is so much more than simply the sum of its parts. At its core, this novel is about grieving. Real grief isn’t easy to write about. Healing from real grief requires that you crawl deep inside yourself and simply wait it out. And, for the writer, communicating this let-me-just-sit-and-wallow-in-my grief can be a bit of a challenge. In this respect Ms. O’Keeffe has been quite masterful, describing Sia’s withdrawal from the world in charming, lyrical prose. One of the most captivating aspects of this original and creative novel is its structure. Sia, a writer of some renown, has been unable to bring herself to write so much as a grocery list following the disappearance of her husband. It is a joy to witness O’Keeffe, a writer with a deft and elegant hand, one who takes unabashed joy in words and their playful, troublesome selves, awaken the writer in Sia. In short chapters, some as short as a jump rope jingle, a dictionary definition, a grocery list, or, in some cases a seemingly random collection of words floating willy-nilly on the page, we watch in awe and wonder, cheering Sia on as she, at first tentatively, then with growing confidence, regains her writerly legs. None of it distracts; all of it delights. Ms. Bair O’Keeffe has shown herself to be a writer who not only understands her characters, but also, much like her protagonist, has a deep wellspring of compassion for them. We breathe a huge, contented sigh of relief as Sia begins to fall in love with words all over again and rediscovers their healing balm. Shimmering, rapid-fire dialogue, well-drawn characters, a lively pace, and most of all an engaging voice, make The Art of Floating a stellar—as in five star—read and Kristin Bair O’Keeffe a writer to watch. The style, structure and well-developed characters make this novel ripe for discussion. In particular, book clubs will love the reading guide in the back. The questions, written by the author, promise a lively, interesting discussion. Just add wine.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Holly Robinson

    Most of the time, we read books and say, “Aha, this is like that last book I ready by so-and-so.” But there is no possible way to do that with THE ART OF FLOATING. Kristin Bair O'Keeffe has written an intelligent, provocative novel that seems on its surface to be traditional fiction, in that it's an emotional mystery about a woman whose life is shattered when her beloved husband disappears without explanation. That, in itself, would be a decent book. But the language and characters delivered on Most of the time, we read books and say, “Aha, this is like that last book I ready by so-and-so.” But there is no possible way to do that with THE ART OF FLOATING. Kristin Bair O'Keeffe has written an intelligent, provocative novel that seems on its surface to be traditional fiction, in that it's an emotional mystery about a woman whose life is shattered when her beloved husband disappears without explanation. That, in itself, would be a decent book. But the language and characters delivered on the pages of THE ART OF FLOATING are absolutely unique, with the language coming at us in fragments, song verses, and even prose poetry at times to amplify the emotions. Kudos to O'Keeffe for offering us a unique perspective on one grieving woman's journey toward life and hope after a profound loss.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judy D Collins

    THE ART OF FLOATING is an extraordinary and magical novel – a complex, deep and thought-provoking story of love, loss, and grief ---a state of mind, one of mere existing--a state of floating, a world of imagination, suspended to protect oneself from grief, and hurt---Coping without really living or accepting, unable to move on. Meaning of floating: “having little or no attachment, not firmly placed or set or fastened, uncommitted, not bound or pledged, continually moving or changing position.” Si THE ART OF FLOATING is an extraordinary and magical novel – a complex, deep and thought-provoking story of love, loss, and grief ---a state of mind, one of mere existing--a state of floating, a world of imagination, suspended to protect oneself from grief, and hurt---Coping without really living or accepting, unable to move on. Meaning of floating: “having little or no attachment, not firmly placed or set or fastened, uncommitted, not bound or pledged, continually moving or changing position.” Sia, lost her husband, Jackson—disappearing when he goes out for coffee on a regular morning after a fun and sexy morning bet, while lounging in bed (who gets oral sex or goes for coffee)? One ordinary morning --- (Sia, Gumper, the dog, and Jackson). What would cause a happy man to leave for a coffee run; never to return? A little over a year later, novelist Sia (has been unable to write since the tragic day her husband left without a word) ---- discovers a beautiful man on the beach, dressed in a business suit, soaked, and mute----THE SILENT MAN. She takes him home and allows him to merely exist, calling him Toad. He never speaks or communicates. There is much controversy over this mysterious and gorgeous man, which expands worldwide in search of the history of this intriguing man. Where did he come from, his past, his story? All appearances indicate he has experienced something very tragic, causing him to be unable to speak. Everyone has an opinion, as to the man’s story, combined with the woman who found him--she also has been withdrawn and kind of crazy since the loss of her husband. When two lost souls meet, they have more in common than they may think. Could they help one another over their grief, and back to a world of living—how are they connected? Is the water, the ocean, any relation? Where do they go when in a floating stage? The novel goes back and forth from the days leading up to Jackson’s disappearance, their life and love to today. A personal novel of intimate feelings about two people, (this novel will make you laugh out loud, with the wit and sarcasm, sweet and erotic/sexy banter, off the wall jokes) through 171 chapters---as Sia recounts their poignant time together. Oh loved Sia’s parents, their engaging background, and her best friend Gillian (which keeps everyone on their toes). If you are looking for a quiet, mindless beach read—this book is not for you. If you are seeking a deep, thought- provoking, unconventional and imaginative novel, with writing which bounces all over the place---full of eccentric characters, and explores deep hidden feelings of the heart, soul, and mind ---this is your book. It is not a depressing book, as has so much humor and wit------a total page-turner! There is also another secondary character – the dog catcher, a collector of things—highly entertaining and puzzling---how does this character fit into the story? Towards the end of the book, everything will come to surface, as the pieces fit perfectly. It is hard to put THE ART OF FLOATING in a specific genre---mystery, suspense, self-discovery, adventure, drama, magical, yet it explores elements outside the box—leaving the readers dying to find out the answers to the two mysteries, and draw conclusions. From quirky rhymes, poems, words floating all over the page, incredible usage of words, thoughts—O’Keeffe expresses her talent and a style which is rare---she tackles grief, and withdrawal, masterfully skilled at character development, plot planning, with wonderful lyrical prose. A captivating story, with intense feelings and suspense--- which builds until the end, leaving you dying to know more about these complex characters. I was transported with settings so realistic and feelings raw---holding your attention, no matter where the author leads you. She has control—the parallel with water was quite peaceful and its relation to floating, as well as the two lost souls, which are grieving. Would highly recommend the audiobook, as Kristin Bair O'Keeffe (Author), and Christina Traister (Narrator)—totally mesh for a dynamic duo, both understanding these well-drawn characters, for a stellar performance. If you are looking for a wide variety of comments and opinions—this book is ideal for book clubs and further discussions. I so look forward to reading more from this talented and highly creative author! JDCMustReadBooks This review sums up my thoughts about THE ART OF FLOATING: "Blending radiant language and a dreamlike journey through sorrow and healing, this is one to recommend to fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Eowyn Ivey." ----Booklist

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    Yoga for the mind—check out the “studio” of the book: in 441 pp. there are 171 chapters, there are quotes, songs, jump-rope ditties, poems, numbers, dots—and words, unusual arrangements and choices of words, lovely words, fresh, colorful and that paint the defining strokes in each picture. The words hold hands in this book, they belong together and show us things in a new way. Stretching is required in this book of yoga for the mind—who’s who and what’s what are not obvious and the only way to fi Yoga for the mind—check out the “studio” of the book: in 441 pp. there are 171 chapters, there are quotes, songs, jump-rope ditties, poems, numbers, dots—and words, unusual arrangements and choices of words, lovely words, fresh, colorful and that paint the defining strokes in each picture. The words hold hands in this book, they belong together and show us things in a new way. Stretching is required in this book of yoga for the mind—who’s who and what’s what are not obvious and the only way to find out is to sink into the pose of the moment, feel the stretch and live there for a little time. The language, the delicious language will keep you company. The Odyssey thread is a delight of depth, and so is the memory of the “man wreathed in seaweed” among the Italo Calvino folktales of men who emerge from the sea—this may be a fantasy-story but the cultural tentacles make it cling to our collective unconscious. Such a great feel for dialog—so natural! Oh my, I am being so pretentious and this is not a pretentious book or style—but it rang deep and I went with the depth and the stretch for a review. This is a rich book stuffed with so many different goodies, but never overdone, never obvious—the flow, well, floats. Miss Priss the English teacher cannot help raising her ruler and caviling . . . wouldn’t “Notes” be more elegant than “Works Cited” for a novel? And while “the shallow divot at the base of his neck” is so masterful as to need a pause, finding “divot” again 3 pages later in its everyday place on the ground ruins the effect. However, to give a big gold star, too, coming across “floating” in the annual parade float, or coffee grounds floating on top of the coffee in Sweden, or “the answer floating on one of the lily pads” the Chinese woman saw Toad staring at. All natural, all floating, all tying things together. In the end, I think this novel fulfills the wish in C.P. Cavafy’s words: “When you set sail for Ithaca, wish for the road to be long, full of adventures, full of knowledge.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I did not know what to make of this book when I first read the concept. All I know is that it sounded promising and this is why I wanted to read this book. I must admit that I did not love this book but I did not hate it either. It was just middle of the road for me. I found Toad to be the most intriguing person in the story and he did not even talk. Sia she was ok. In the beginning I found her kind of dull. Although as the story progressed, she did get better but I never fully connected with he I did not know what to make of this book when I first read the concept. All I know is that it sounded promising and this is why I wanted to read this book. I must admit that I did not love this book but I did not hate it either. It was just middle of the road for me. I found Toad to be the most intriguing person in the story and he did not even talk. Sia she was ok. In the beginning I found her kind of dull. Although as the story progressed, she did get better but I never fully connected with her. When the truth about Sia's husband was revealed, it was kind of sad. This is not a light-hearted cheery book but one that does make you stand up and take notice of this author and her nice writing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I will not ruin this read for anyone by writing an in-depth review because the delight comes in discovery with this book. A whimsical yet masterful accumulation of meaning about what it means to be lost--and found. Are "fresh" books still being written? Kristin Bair O'Keeffe shows the answer: yes! I will not ruin this read for anyone by writing an in-depth review because the delight comes in discovery with this book. A whimsical yet masterful accumulation of meaning about what it means to be lost--and found. Are "fresh" books still being written? Kristin Bair O'Keeffe shows the answer: yes!

  7. 5 out of 5

    McKenzie Tozan

    Even when you read regularly, it takes time to find something truly great; but every once in a while, there will be a book, a poem, a story, that truly turns you on your heel, holds you in place, and keeps you loving, recommending and discussing that piece for months. Though first described to me as “a great summer read” and “something good to take to the beach,” Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s The Art of Floating was precisely that piece I needed to improve my summer—and not just by giving me a book to Even when you read regularly, it takes time to find something truly great; but every once in a while, there will be a book, a poem, a story, that truly turns you on your heel, holds you in place, and keeps you loving, recommending and discussing that piece for months. Though first described to me as “a great summer read” and “something good to take to the beach,” Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s The Art of Floating was precisely that piece I needed to improve my summer—and not just by giving me a book to read under an umbrella next to the waves. Sia Dane’s personal story, at first glance, may appear to be a simple one: a woman well-defined and independent in her writing life and her marriage to her husband, Jack, and then grief-stricken and unable to write upon his disappearance one year before the opening of the novel. This, in and of itself, may suggest a straight-forward story of grief, whether or not beautifully-written. Even with the addition of a strange man on the beach, who Sia discovers early in the morning, would support this story-arch, perhaps with the inclusion of a romantic turn (which would fulfill that “take it to the beach” mantra). However, even if this is how Sia Dane’s story begins, it is hardly conclusive or summative, and we end in a very different place than we might have guessed. What is so beautiful, haunting, and even bewildering, about this novel is the way in which Bair O’Keeffe can first introduce us to a story we think we know, and twist it into something symbolic, surreal and highly-bodily, which immediately removes The Art of Floating from the common “beach read” section and propels it to the realm of literary fiction—and presents it as a gorgeous example of literary fiction, at that. When I was first introduced to this title, I did the unthinkable thing—something that I am very guilty of doing on a regular basis, despite my extreme dislike for spoilers: I read the back cover. And I knew, deep in my gut (perhaps in the same place where Sia finds her flopping fish), that this book was different. In the first line of the synopsis, it summarizes, “When her beloved husband, Jackson, disappeared without a trace, popular novelist Sia Dane stopped writing, closed down her house, stuffed her heart into a cage, and started floating.” I read that line over and over, gushing with excitement, at the sheer potential of the novel being refreshing and different. When the book arrived at my home, I wanted so badly to break the reading order of books I had “scheduled” before this one, but I held my ground, clenched my teeth, and waited until it was Bair O’Keeffe’s turn—and, boy, was it worth the wait. It was more than I could have bargained for, expected, or dreamed of. The events detailed on the back cover do indeed happen, for real, within the context of this novel. This reality is created and made acceptable—made beautiful and strange and heart-felt—within the first several pages of the book, when Sia discovers the man on the beach (who she names “Toad”) and feels a literal wave of his sadness enter her body—as well as a large, flopping fish in her stomach, which she feels move whenever she feels empathy for another person. Obviously, this is outside the operational realm of our bodies and the abilities of them; but that, in the end, is what makes these surreal moves so beautiful and true, when we are given that image that is, at once, strange and capable of retelling those emotions that we otherwise feel are beyond the reach of description. In their surreal nature, they apply truth. Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s novel, The Art of Floating, is too entirely beautiful to reduce to “a great summer read” or “something good to take to the beach.” Though I did read this over the summer, and while the book did make an appearance at a water park, it was not read in that time or place out of simplicity or lack of expectation. Rather, reading that back cover pushed my expectations to a higher level, where I wanted strangeness and originality and literary-ness to thrive. And it did. This is one of the most gorgeous and emotionally-demanding novels that I have read in years, and it tackles the duality of the lost and found with renewed fervor and poignancy I haven’t seen in fiction—“women’s” or not—for quite some time. Not only does this novel require that you open yourself to a wide range of emotions, but it demands you to open your mind to the unusual physicality of these emotions, their shift in physics, even; and it even projects into you those emotions you’re seeing and feeling on the page—the frustration and need for patience with the Dogcatcher and the therapist, the split between being happy and appalled by Jilly, the love and pain felt for Jackson and Toad . . . and the possibilities, the range of emotions and reactions, continue. When it really comes down to it, this is such a deep and well-thought-out examination of how we grieve and love and relate to one another. Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect this much from one novel, to want a book to meet so many demands, effectively, between a pair of covers—but I feel it’s all been done here; and I know when I read it again, I’ll feel the same way . . . and the surprises will keep coming.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stevie Carroll

    Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread: This is a rather odd sort of book, but the dreamy quality of the main narrative fits it perfectly. Small towns are notorious for being strange, but the location for The Art of Floating is stranger than most, and this is reflected not only in the mood of the book, but also in the way it and its chapters are structured: sometimes a chapter moves the story along by telling another part of the main story, and sometimes it just pulls out snippets Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread: This is a rather odd sort of book, but the dreamy quality of the main narrative fits it perfectly. Small towns are notorious for being strange, but the location for The Art of Floating is stranger than most, and this is reflected not only in the mood of the book, but also in the way it and its chapters are structured: sometimes a chapter moves the story along by telling another part of the main story, and sometimes it just pulls out snippets of what’s being said, in order to add depth. We hear not only the voices of the main characters, but also follow the development of the skipping rhyme the local girls invent in response to Sia’s story, and get to read the inspirational quotes (rarely biblical) posted anew outside the local church each week. Odyssia Dane, Sia to most people, is the daughter of a rather eccentric mother who gave birth as a teenager, but is still very much in love with her husband and devoted to her daughter. Sia, meanwhile, still hasn’t got over the loss of her husband of nine years, Jackson, who went out to get coffee the previous spring and never came back. Sia’s grief is all-encompassing: she didn’t leave the house for the first few months of her loss, and is completely incapable of writing anything when the book starts. Before her loss, she was a successful author, who loved making lists – as did Jackson, whose main job was taking care of the rare plovers who nested on the beaches close to their home. The plovers are a big point of contention in the town, dividing its inhabitants into those who want to protect the birds by keeping the beaches closed all spring, and those who want the beaches open so badly that they are consumed by hate for the birds. Then Sia finds a different kind of rare creature, and by caring for him she both opens up the town to an invasion of outsiders, and begins to make friends with some unlikely characters closer to home. Toad, the silent man that Sia finds on the beach and names because naming things is what she does, becomes a media sensation. Sia and her allies want to tell the world about him in order to reunite him with his family – who must be experiencing the same feelings of loss as Sia does for Jackson – but they resent the intrusion of the media circus who descend on Sia’s house and follow her and Toad wherever they go. Sia’s quest to find out Toad’s identity brings her into contact with the Dogcatcher, a homeless woman who collects lost things, along with notices about missing pets, and through this strange acquaintanceship begins to piece together what might have happened on the morning that Jackson disappeared. I love this book, although it doesn’t quite feel complete. Maybe that is the author’s intention; these characters and their home almost exist in a place outside time, just beyond our own world. I definitely want to read it again to pick up on nuances I may have missed the first time around.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Thorndike

    I love the structure of this novel, and the confidence with which O’Keeffe handles her chronology. The book opens, naturally, with the most fascinating moment: the appearance of the stranger-from-the-sea. In the second chapter we hear about the other pivotal moment of Sia Dane’s life, the disappearance of her husband, and soon we have scenes from the years of their marriage, from Sia’s childhood, from the viewpoint of a mysterious collector of lost things—all as the current story rolls along. In I love the structure of this novel, and the confidence with which O’Keeffe handles her chronology. The book opens, naturally, with the most fascinating moment: the appearance of the stranger-from-the-sea. In the second chapter we hear about the other pivotal moment of Sia Dane’s life, the disappearance of her husband, and soon we have scenes from the years of their marriage, from Sia’s childhood, from the viewpoint of a mysterious collector of lost things—all as the current story rolls along. In juggling all this, O’Keeffe is both fearless and deft. The book has an irresistible, a delectable flow. It turns from past to present and back again without a wink, without a pause, without the least confusion. Sia Dane learns the art of floating above the moment, often as a kind of escape from reality—but O’Keeffe floats as well. She floats above a great number of stories, dropping in wherever she chooses. And where she goes, I follow gladly. I liked, especially, the many lists in the book. They’re engaging, they’re fun, and they set the narrative spinning. This is a lovely and inventive novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I love this book. The first sentence immediately pulled me in and by the first two chapters, I was completely hooked. So many mysteries--who is the strange woman watching Sia? What happened to Sia's husband? Who is the man with the Robert Redford looks? How did he wash up on shore? Will he ever speak? Will he and Sia become a couple? O'Keeffe's characters and their plotlines kept me reading well into the night. I lingered over the descriptions of the people who populate the New England seaside t I love this book. The first sentence immediately pulled me in and by the first two chapters, I was completely hooked. So many mysteries--who is the strange woman watching Sia? What happened to Sia's husband? Who is the man with the Robert Redford looks? How did he wash up on shore? Will he ever speak? Will he and Sia become a couple? O'Keeffe's characters and their plotlines kept me reading well into the night. I lingered over the descriptions of the people who populate the New England seaside town where the book is set. Lots of clever humor drawn from daily life makes it an uplifting book. I especially enjoyed Sia's dog Gumper, as much a character as the people as he stalwartly supports Sia and everyone around her. If you're an animal lover, this book is worth reading just for the characterization of this big, loyal, strong, dedicated dog. Reader group discussion questions included at the end were fun to think about even though I read this novel outside of a reading group. Strongly recommend this book about being lost and about being found!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Donny Truong

    Unlike Thirsty , Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s dark, disturbing, straightforward debut, The Art of Floating is poignant, witty and unconventional. Like Tarantino's nonlinear art direction, the stories unfolds in an imaginative, interrupted flow. The novel has 171 chapters. A long chapter could be a few pages and a short chapter could be a sentence. In other word, Bair O’Keeffe’s idiosyncratic approach should be noted for creative writing and fictional storytelling. In addition, one of her gifte Unlike Thirsty , Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s dark, disturbing, straightforward debut, The Art of Floating is poignant, witty and unconventional. Like Tarantino's nonlinear art direction, the stories unfolds in an imaginative, interrupted flow. The novel has 171 chapters. A long chapter could be a few pages and a short chapter could be a sentence. In other word, Bair O’Keeffe’s idiosyncratic approach should be noted for creative writing and fictional storytelling. In addition, one of her gifted skills were the ability to pen erotic scenes so damn well and hilarious too (check chapter 90). As hinted through the main character Sia, Bair O’Keeffe is conscious of the sophomore slump, but The Art of Floating reassured that the novelist has stepped up her game.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Sullivan

    Thanks Carolyn Obel-Omia, my work reading buddy, for lending me this book. It was a perfect read for Mother’s Day weekend. I sat in the hot tub and beside a pool to read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it! Yes, it is probably classified correctly as a women’s fiction book, but it certainly was not a fluff or no nonsense narrative. The writing was refreshing and I enjoyed the theme of the beach with the piping plovers! The book is the story about a novelist, Sia Dane. whose husband unexpectedly d Thanks Carolyn Obel-Omia, my work reading buddy, for lending me this book. It was a perfect read for Mother’s Day weekend. I sat in the hot tub and beside a pool to read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it! Yes, it is probably classified correctly as a women’s fiction book, but it certainly was not a fluff or no nonsense narrative. The writing was refreshing and I enjoyed the theme of the beach with the piping plovers! The book is the story about a novelist, Sia Dane. whose husband unexpectedly disappears. Then six months after his disappearance, she finds a man on the beach and the story begins. She takes him in but he doesn’t talk. She works with the police to find the man’s identity; there are some interesting twits and turns. The author does an amazing job with having the reader think about loss. It was particularly fun to be able to relate to the New England references too. This would be a perfect book for summer beach reading!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    I enjoyed The Art of Floating - one of Goodreads giveaways. The cover made me think it was going to be a light, frothy beach read - but that was not the case. It can be summed up very simply - it's the story of lost and found things in the life of Sia Dane. Odyssia is an empathic novelist married to a game warden who lives in a small town on Plum Island, Massachusetts. He is the first thing she loses. The book has elements of suspense, romance and magical realism without being firmly in any camp. I enjoyed The Art of Floating - one of Goodreads giveaways. The cover made me think it was going to be a light, frothy beach read - but that was not the case. It can be summed up very simply - it's the story of lost and found things in the life of Sia Dane. Odyssia is an empathic novelist married to a game warden who lives in a small town on Plum Island, Massachusetts. He is the first thing she loses. The book has elements of suspense, romance and magical realism without being firmly in any camp. There are plenty of quirky characters to keep a reader interested and O'Keefe's reveals come in small hints along the way. All in all, I liked the book. Go find it and lose yourself for awhile. It'll be worth your time.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pammy

    What a story line! There's a novelist, Sia, who is a beach person through & through (was even born on a beach) married to Jackson, a naturalist who is happiest in a forest setting. They are this perfect match for one another ...one of those Ying and Yang things. He disappears one day without a trace and we (the readers) experience her response to this tragedy. While in her healing months, Sia stumbles upon a mysterious, mute & unresponsive man on the beach & Sia becomes obsessed with helping ret What a story line! There's a novelist, Sia, who is a beach person through & through (was even born on a beach) married to Jackson, a naturalist who is happiest in a forest setting. They are this perfect match for one another ...one of those Ying and Yang things. He disappears one day without a trace and we (the readers) experience her response to this tragedy. While in her healing months, Sia stumbles upon a mysterious, mute & unresponsive man on the beach & Sia becomes obsessed with helping return the man to the his place in the world. The theme deals with realization of Jackson as "here" and "gone" ....then and now. Sia's family, friends, her dog and even the mystery man help her make the journey between sorrow and healing. Kudos to writing techniques used by this author.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Miller

    THE ART OF FLOATING is the exact kind of read I love to happen upon. With a fresh, engaging storyline, I found myself enjoying every single page. I appreciated the innovative style of storytelling and the way O’Keeffe not only succeeded in creating likable, intriguing characters, but also a page-turning reflective glimpse of grief that didn’t depress me. I share a lot in common with dog-loving, empathetic novelist, Sia. I became entrenched in her story from the first page to the last. No doubt I’ THE ART OF FLOATING is the exact kind of read I love to happen upon. With a fresh, engaging storyline, I found myself enjoying every single page. I appreciated the innovative style of storytelling and the way O’Keeffe not only succeeded in creating likable, intriguing characters, but also a page-turning reflective glimpse of grief that didn’t depress me. I share a lot in common with dog-loving, empathetic novelist, Sia. I became entrenched in her story from the first page to the last. No doubt I’ll be wondering about her and the rest of the characters in THE ART OF FLOATING years from now.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Monique Colver

    Kristin Bair O'Keeffe's newest book about being lost and found is magical, and came at a time when I myself felt lost. The unusual narrative style was refreshing, and like her last book, Thirsty, I read almost straight through, not wanting to miss a moment of whatever was going to happen next. This is unusual for me lately, since I am lost and have trouble focusing, but her writing pulls me in, and her characters are people I wouldn't mind knowing. It's sad, in parts, because life is sad, in par Kristin Bair O'Keeffe's newest book about being lost and found is magical, and came at a time when I myself felt lost. The unusual narrative style was refreshing, and like her last book, Thirsty, I read almost straight through, not wanting to miss a moment of whatever was going to happen next. This is unusual for me lately, since I am lost and have trouble focusing, but her writing pulls me in, and her characters are people I wouldn't mind knowing. It's sad, in parts, because life is sad, in parts, but it's also full of mystery and puzzles to solve, chiefly how to be found again. I'm looking forward to her next book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hevel

    I loved this book. I'm a fan of wisely measured magical realism, and this book engulfed me from the start. O'Keeffe knows how to create a world that feels realistic but just a little...different. And after all isn't that why we read, to visit different realities? While it doesn't have a Hollywood ending, the novel progresses naturally toward its satisfying conclusion, and I was sorry to leave this strangely compelling and familiar world of waterlogged strangers and empaths when it was finished. I loved this book. I'm a fan of wisely measured magical realism, and this book engulfed me from the start. O'Keeffe knows how to create a world that feels realistic but just a little...different. And after all isn't that why we read, to visit different realities? While it doesn't have a Hollywood ending, the novel progresses naturally toward its satisfying conclusion, and I was sorry to leave this strangely compelling and familiar world of waterlogged strangers and empaths when it was finished.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Spaulding

    I opened The Art of Floating, my latest read-before-going-to-sleep book, one night last week. I read way past the time I usually turn off the light and put it down only because I couldn't will my eyes to remain open. Throughout the next day, I mulled over the plot, pondered the personalities of the characters, and was anxious to get back to Kristin Bair O'Keeffe's thought-provoking new book, which I finished the second night. The ending is intriguing, and I wonder about the possibility of a sequ I opened The Art of Floating, my latest read-before-going-to-sleep book, one night last week. I read way past the time I usually turn off the light and put it down only because I couldn't will my eyes to remain open. Throughout the next day, I mulled over the plot, pondered the personalities of the characters, and was anxious to get back to Kristin Bair O'Keeffe's thought-provoking new book, which I finished the second night. The ending is intriguing, and I wonder about the possibility of a sequel. A week later, I'm still lost in the spell of The Art of Floating.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I just finished The Art of Floating by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe. “Exactly one year, one month, and six days“ after her husband’s disappearance, Sia finds a lost man on the beaches of Plum Island. As the story unfolds, Sia is determined to find where this man belongs and to discover what happened to her beloved Jackson. It is a wonderful book with a compelling storyline, fascinating characters, lyrical language, and a complex narrative structure. I heartily recommend it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karrie

    I loved the dreamy quality and it was the perfect swim/beach theme for the time I spend at the pool while my son takes swim lessons. The narrative drifts around and at times floated a bit too far for me to keep hooked in but I admire the snippets the author used to weave this story of love and loss together.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie Long

    A uniquely beautiful story, about sorrow without being sorrowful and heavy. In fact, it's the opposite of heavy, though "light" isn't quite the right word. Nor is "ethereal." It's magical buoyancy tethered to witty realism. Hopefulness grounded in healing. And it reads like a breeze that sometimes flicks your hat off! A uniquely beautiful story, about sorrow without being sorrowful and heavy. In fact, it's the opposite of heavy, though "light" isn't quite the right word. Nor is "ethereal." It's magical buoyancy tethered to witty realism. Hopefulness grounded in healing. And it reads like a breeze that sometimes flicks your hat off!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharry

    A strange and wonderful love story in which loves are lost and found and lost again, The Art of Floating by Kristin Bair O'Keefe will leave you wondering what is going on while you're cheering for Odyssia Dane to find herself again. A lost husband, a found stranger, a best friend, and a devoted mother - from these, Sia must find a way to stop floating above her life and start living it again. A strange and wonderful love story in which loves are lost and found and lost again, The Art of Floating by Kristin Bair O'Keefe will leave you wondering what is going on while you're cheering for Odyssia Dane to find herself again. A lost husband, a found stranger, a best friend, and a devoted mother - from these, Sia must find a way to stop floating above her life and start living it again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I can't tell you how much I loved this book. It's light and a bit silly, but it moves really well and is just a complete joy. Think whimsical Alice Hoffman meets romantic Jojo Moyes meets well-read-narrator-you-want-to-be-besties-with. If I were more inclined to own books I'd want this one on a bedside bookshelf. I can't tell you how much I loved this book. It's light and a bit silly, but it moves really well and is just a complete joy. Think whimsical Alice Hoffman meets romantic Jojo Moyes meets well-read-narrator-you-want-to-be-besties-with. If I were more inclined to own books I'd want this one on a bedside bookshelf.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Wow. This book blew me away. The author tackles a not uncommon theme (coping with loss of a loved one) and takes it to a different--and completely unique--level. The writing style is exceptional and unlike anything I've ever read. It's captivating, mysterious, and a little surreal. Some might be put off by the writing style but I found it brilliant. There was nothing about this I didn't love. Wow. This book blew me away. The author tackles a not uncommon theme (coping with loss of a loved one) and takes it to a different--and completely unique--level. The writing style is exceptional and unlike anything I've ever read. It's captivating, mysterious, and a little surreal. Some might be put off by the writing style but I found it brilliant. There was nothing about this I didn't love.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather Spitzberg

    Magical writing, magical story This book is perfect for readers who enjoy unconventional narratives and magical realism. Sia's struggle with loss and her empathy allows her to be open to another lost soul in a beautiful story of healing and love. As a bonus, there's a town full of quirky and entertaining characters that provide copious amounts of comic relief. Magical writing, magical story This book is perfect for readers who enjoy unconventional narratives and magical realism. Sia's struggle with loss and her empathy allows her to be open to another lost soul in a beautiful story of healing and love. As a bonus, there's a town full of quirky and entertaining characters that provide copious amounts of comic relief.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    This story has it all - mystery, loss, love, and humor. The characters came alive - they are human and compelling. I find myself wanting to know more about them even now. I laughed, I cried, and was transported to this seacoast town to join Sia Dane on her journey of discovery.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Porter

    A sweet, lyrical novel about loss and love and grief written by an author with the soul of a poet. Read my full review on my blog, The Lazy Writer:http://sporter63.wordpress.com/2014/0... A sweet, lyrical novel about loss and love and grief written by an author with the soul of a poet. Read my full review on my blog, The Lazy Writer:http://sporter63.wordpress.com/2014/0...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I loved this story by Kristin Bair O'Keeffe! Such fun reading about my one-time-hometown. More than that, however, this was just a beautifully written story. Absolutely magical. Highly recommended. I loved this story by Kristin Bair O'Keeffe! Such fun reading about my one-time-hometown. More than that, however, this was just a beautifully written story. Absolutely magical. Highly recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dave White

    A fanciful tale with down to earth characters. Loved it. The author has connected well with the characters. Each one has their own very human struggles and quirks. I felt like I knew the people in this story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Wallace

    I don't often give a book 5 stars, and I leave comments even less frequently, but this book bowled me over from the first page. I wrote a review and how this book inspired me to book lust here: http://nhwn.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/... I don't often give a book 5 stars, and I leave comments even less frequently, but this book bowled me over from the first page. I wrote a review and how this book inspired me to book lust here: http://nhwn.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/...

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