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The Floatplane Notebooks

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  837 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
The Copeland family of Listre, North Carolina, goes back a long way. Each family member has a story to tell, and stories to be told about one another. Albert Copeland, the head of the family, writes it all down in the notebooks he started once to track the progress of the floatplanes he built, though they never did fly. Everything about the Copelands is in these books. And ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 21st 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published September 9th 1988)
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Best Southern Literature
226th out of 866 books — 2,152 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,186)
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Nann
Nov 07, 2015 Nann rated it liked it
A poignant tale. The wisteria vine is a metaphor for the family: deeply-rooted and sprawling.
Jean
Sep 08, 2007 Jean rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes Southern fiction and humor
Come on, Clyde Edgerton is great. He writes funny, tender stories and has made writing little old ladies an art form. He's easy on the eyes and has a bluegrass band, for pete's sake. This book breaks rules about how many points of views are okay in writing, and I love that. Even a wisteria vine has a point of view. This book made its stage debut with the Charlotte Repertory Theatre, and Clyde had a reception before the opening. He played the banjo and talked to us like we were sitting in his liv ...more
Tina Lawson
Jan 31, 2015 Tina Lawson rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books.
Mark Powell
May 22, 2012 Mark Powell rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of working with Clyde at St. Andrews College years ago. This one is my favorite. He captures the voices of people from my childhood!
Kathy
Sep 13, 2014 Kathy rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I thot was really kinda just ok but I read it when I was pregnant the first time and I was lying on the couch and there's a passage in the book that was so funny to me, when I read it out loud to my husband, I fell off the couch! So how could I NOT give it "an amazing" review? I read it again a few years later and the the same passage cracked me up again, altho I was not unmoored balance wise and did not fall off anything that time. Whew. Just thinking of the passage makes me ...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
Apr 08, 2015 Elizabeth Sulzby rated it it was amazing
I've listened to this as an audiobook at least 5 times, once with my husband John Kitchens for his first time. It has ROFL parts and some of the most sad, moving parts I've ever read. this isn't really a spoiler for the best ROFL part: Watch out/listen out for Papa saying: "Thantion it, damn it, thantion it!"

In this book, characters interior monologues, their thoughts, are given as speech. These interior monologues also are from "the wisteria vine" at the graveyard and the folks buried in the g
...more
Tatiana
Sep 06, 2015 Tatiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful novel about ancestry and way of life in the South. This book's layout is similar to "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner. I truly loved the stories told by each of the family members and their tradition.
Kimberlyluisi
Jul 07, 2015 Kimberlyluisi rated it liked it
Pretty good. A nice-ish little story of a southern family. It was recommended to me by a NC bookstore owner, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone.
Melissa
Jul 13, 2008 Melissa rated it liked it
As a collection of individual stories and personal recollections, it was interesting, but there was no real story - nothing apart from the characters' relationships with each other to bind them all together. Mr. Edgerton does a great job juggling several different first-person points of view. Each character has their own distinct voice, even the wisteria vine. I think I would have enjoyed it more if there had been more reports of what the vine "overheard." I was also surprised that the floatplan ...more
Karen
Apr 26, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author
My very favorite Edgerton book. Details of flying, life, family and more. Love this book.
Sue Lipton
Feb 18, 2014 Sue Lipton rated it it was ok
Did I miss something? Was this the wrong intro to Edgerton?
Susan Fetterer
Mar 12, 2012 Susan Fetterer rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Clyde Edgerton's writing style, his storylines, and most of all, his interesting characters. They're unique and live lives worthy of dissection and discussion. Every family (hopefully) has at least one storyteller who chronicles those who came before and puts the pieces of the family puzzle together and creates a sense of completeness. Family sagas help us understand ourselves a little bit better and brings long gone progenitors again to life. Love this stuff!
Rebecca Guest-Scott
May 17, 2008 Rebecca Guest-Scott rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone--even surly teen who hate to read
Recommended to Rebecca by: Bryant Mangum
This book tells the story of several generations in a revolving narrative that gives each character his or her own say, however briefly. Like an intricate quilt composed of squares from different quilters, the story is gradually pieced together by the voices of vivid, deeply-human characters. This is one of my top three favorite books of all time.
Anna
Aug 31, 2010 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. I thought it did a good job of capturing Eastern North Carolina dialogue patterns; I also thought it managed to span various time periods well and still be believable. However, if you're averse to parts of a story being told by a wisteria vine, maybe this isn't the book for you.
Shan
Mar 08, 2009 Shan rated it it was amazing
Edgerton writes the most amusing books. This one was no exception. The events of daily life are told by each character which confirms that we are all unique and our interpretations of life are also unique. I love Edgerton's style and proclaim this book as one of his best.
Susannah
Jun 22, 2012 Susannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
This story was probably not supposed to make me cry, but it did. Rich language interwoven with humor, The Floatplane Notebooks ebbs and flows with the human foibles of a southern family, and it's as real and poignant as the best of its genre. Recommended.
Bayneeta
Mar 20, 2009 Bayneeta rated it liked it
Recommended to Bayneeta by: Claudia
Shelves: fiction
Told from multiple points of view--including, I think, the family dog and the wisteria. Not my favorite Edgerton, but good. Claudia chose it for our staff book discussion.
Anne
Oct 15, 2012 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud funny in places, but overall serious throughout. Family saga set in the Carolinas. Wonderful accents. Crazy relatives. Told from different perspectives.
Cheryl
Nov 18, 2009 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I just loved this story. I loved it so much that the year I read it I gave it to just about everyone I knew as a Christmas present.
Erika
Oct 10, 2011 Erika rated it it was ok
Not endearing, unlikable main characters, too many dead children. And not humorous enough to make up for all of the above.
Deanndra Hall
Sep 13, 2013 Deanndra Hall rated it really liked it
Didn't like this one quite as much as most of his, but I still liked it. I don't think he's ever written anything I didn't like!
Kim Miller
Aug 15, 2012 Kim Miller rated it really liked it
This is a really fast read. The story is told from the children's and the wisteria vine's perspective. Very creative.
Carol
Jun 23, 2010 Carol rated it liked it
This one is a little different. Not really funny at all. I liked it but prefer his books that contain more humor.
Alvin
Jan 22, 2012 Alvin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not his best, but still very fund and some very funny vignettes. Humans taking on very strange projects.
Hunter Daughtrey
Oct 16, 2012 Hunter Daughtrey rated it it was amazing
This was my second favorite of his early works. It was a bit darker in its humor, which worked for me.
Patti
Aug 13, 2012 Patti rated it liked it
I enjoyed this . Quick read about Southern life and family ties in the mid 20th century.
Jenallen74
Feb 03, 2008 Jenallen74 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by Clyde Edgerton. I can't get enough of his stories.
Lisa Peterson
Aug 09, 2013 Lisa Peterson rated it it was amazing
May have been my favorite. Hard to say because I love all of his work
Kendra
Jul 27, 2013 Kendra rated it it was amazing
Easily my all time favorite book. Could be my family story.
Carmen
Jul 18, 2008 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Cheri, Jennifer, Ella, Jackie
Recommended to Carmen by: Ruth White
One of my favorites, have read three times.
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Clyde Edgerton is widely considered one of the premier novelists working in the Southern tradition today, often compared with such masters as Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor.

Although most of his books deal with adult concerns--marriage, aging, birth and death--Edgerton's work is most profoundly about family. In books such as Raney, Walking Across Egypt, The Floatplane Notebooks, and Killer Dill
...more
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