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Gerard takes a magnifying glass to powerful characters, herself included, and the underlying truths she unravels could apply to any number of Americans.The reader becomes invested in the characters’ lives, at times torn between empathy and disdain, but nonetheless needing to know what becomes of them.” “Gerard’s native Florida links the assembled eight essays, but the setting is just that - a backdrop against which Gerard exercises an admirable impulse for experimentation.
He becomes our embezzling protagonist whose tales about the birds he “rescues” never quite add up.
Gerard’s personal stories are no less eerie or poignant: An essay that begins as a look at Gerard’s first relationship becomes a heart-wrenching exploration of acquaintance rape and consent.
This thematic ambiguity and avoidance of the pithy message are qualities—in addition to the effective use of autobiographical scenes—that some of Gerard’s essays share with those of Joan Didion…
[and] turns the book into an Everlasting Gobstopper for thought. Gerard’s collection leaves an indelible impression.” who capture and concern us.
Her essays live in the nonfiction borderland, testing the limits of truth and fact. Florida stands in for the American psyche, which is bleak and badly damaged…
using facts alongside imagination and memory, of the country as it is, in order to understand how we got here, and where we’re going next.” gloriously gutted me—and by that I mean changed me forever as a reader. Florida is often played for laughs in literature, but Gerard knows it too well to do anything that simple.
who would ordinarily be flattened into condescending headlines.” , embodies Florida’s unpredictability in the best sense.
The essays are structurally intricate and ultraprecise in their depictions of both the physical and human worlds.
This essay draws blood.” — Dwight Garner, "Unflinchingly candid memoir bolstered by thoughtfully researched history…. her writing, lucid yet atmospheric, takes on a timeless ebb and flow.” — Jason Heller, NPR.org"Stunning." — “These large-hearted, meticulous essays offer an uncanny x-ray of our national psyche...
showing us both the grand beauty of our American dreams and the heartbreaking devastation they wreak.” — Garth Greenwell, author of , which explores Florida as a microcosm of the most pressing economic and environmental perils haunting our society.