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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  511 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Tom and Jordy have been living with their gran since the day their mother, Loretta, left them on her doorstep and disappeared.

Now Loretta’s returned, and she wants her boys back.

Tom and Jordy hit the road with Loretta in her beat-up car. The family of three journeys across the country, squabbling, bonding, searching and reconnecting.

But Loretta isn’t mother material. She’s
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Text Publsihing
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3.64  · 
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 ·  511 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Jennifer (JC-S)
‘I have that itchy skin feeling that someone is watching us.’

Tom and Jordy are brothers. They’ve been living with their grandparents since their mother Loretta left them on the doorstep one day. One day, as the boys are walking between home and school, Loretta turns up. ‘I’ve come to get you, she says.’ It will be fun, Loretta tells them. Jordy is not so sure, but he joins Tom in the car. Together the three of them set of in Loretta’s run-down car on a long journey to a mystery destination.

Tom i
May 28, 2013 added it
Shelves: aussie
Very bleak.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really feel like I should like this book, but I just can't.

Perhaps there's a part of me that feels 'un-Australian' for disliking it. The Australian iconography throughout Floundering is so true to the Aussie childhood, from Bubble O'Bills and Twisties, to sweltering summer road trips. It provokes that sense of warm-bellied nostalgia for the Australian childhood. But with a story that fails to really go anywhere, you realise the constant descriptives are just to disguise a husk of a story, and
Jun 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Read 1/3 and tossed it. Not buying the prose or Loretta. Artificial. Not for me.
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2012
This book took me by surprise.

I had got it out from the library before and never really got motivated enough to start it, so gradually it found it’s way back on our shelves. Recently, I decided to give it another go as the premise and cover intrigued me enough to not let go of the idea of reading it. I’m glad I didn’t, because it’s a rewarding, if at times disturbing, read.

In short, Floundering tells a harrowing tale of two brothers and their prodigal mum, back from a lengthy absence, who swift
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Been in Bookclub
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had some preconceived notion about 'Floundering' that made me think I wouldn't enjoy it. The tendency of Australian literary novels to try to capture a family instead of a plot just doesn't appeal to my need for strong, complicated storylines. I'm also tired of authors trying to portray the essence of Australia. It's a difficult endeavour and many authors fall short, stray into cliche or utilise extreme landscapes that just aren't indicative of everyday life for many Australians.

Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reviews
Fishing for flounder in shallow coastal waters as the tide comes in is known as “floundering”, which explains the title of this extraordinary debut novel by Australian writer Romy Ash. But it’s also an apt description for what the characters in the story are doing for each is struggling to get by.

Floundering begins as a “road novel” when a pair of brothers — 11-year-old Tom, who narrates the story, and 13-year-old Jordy — are “kidnapped” from their Gran’s place, where they live, by their mother,
Ben Langdon
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
There is a lot to like about this book.

The opening section where Tom and Jordy are picked up on their way home by Loretta (their mum who has been missing for years) is equally powerful and frightening. She is such a flake that the reader (that'd be me) has absolutely no belief that she will being the boys anything but heartbreak and broken promises.

Over the course of a few weeks Romy Ash has totally turned the lives of her two young protagonists on its head, has managed to capture one summer whi
Maree Kimberley
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2014
Floundering by Romy Ash is a quiet, contemplative and disturbing novel about two young boys caught in the conflict between what they wish for and a harsh reality. Motherhood is not easy for some women. For Loretta, there is some desire to have a life with her two sons but that desire is lost in a haze of self-indulgence and wanting what is "hers"; wanting a life that she has no capability to create. Left to deal with the mess of her "dream" are her children Tom and Jordy.

Tom, the younger boy, na
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book for the sole reason that it was one of only two on the Miles Franklin shortlist I thought sounded intriguing.

This was one of those books where the main reason why I love it is because of the author's characterisation. Tom was clear from the beginning, but I loved watching Jordy and Nev become more and more clear and complex as I read on.

For some reason, this book reminded me a lot of my favourite read of last year, Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett. That's probably the main re
Karen ⊰✿
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this over a couple of hours and found it completely engaging. This is not a book for the masses, in fact I can see how many people would dislike it - it is told all from the POV of an 11 year old boy, most of the story is uncomfortable, and there is the matter of the writer not using quotation marks (one of my pet peeves). The reason I found it so gripping is that you fall in love with these two boys and really care for their welfare and their future. Not that they are particularly nice o ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
I spent far too long writing a review, longer than it took to read the book. That’s because I found the book inadequate but didn’t really want to criticise the work of a young writer at the beginning of her career. I had noted the book when it was released and dismissed its subject matter as not of any interest to me, but felt I had to read the novel when it made the Miles Franklin longlist.

Floundering is a promising debut, but IMO it is nonsense to suggest that Floundering is a book of the high
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book cannot fail to affect you.
It's dark, it's disturbing, it pulls on your heart strings, it makes you hope for a happy ending.
This is totally my kind of read.
It's not classic literature. By that I mean it's not con-formative to "how a book should be written".
Those poor boys. I was with them all the way.
Brilliant work of Australian literature. I felt the dirt and the sand in the sunburn!
The reason for it not getting 5 stars is simply because for me, it ended too soon.
Tom Doig
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I reckon this book is absolutely brilliant.
(A disclaimer: I know Romy Ash, and think she is a nice person as well as a brilliant writer.)
That said, I'm pretty confident I would consider "Floundering" to be Australia's pre-apocalyptic, pre-adolescent answer to Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" no matter who wrote it.
Gorgeous stark brutal prose.
Gloriously garbled snytax.
Proper rigorous editing.
A fine book.
Book Bazaar
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
A gorgeous debut Australian fiction. This novel follows brothers, Tom and Jordy, after their feckless mother, Loretta, comes and grabs them after school one day and takes them on a road trip. The characters are well written and the pace builds well as yours fears for the boys grow. Well worth reading and an author I will be looking out for in the future!
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, what a read. It is very simply written, moves fast enough, I enjoyed this book from front cover to back cover. Quick to read, it did not finish the way I thought and some will be disappointed with the ending. Without spoiling it, it is a great read and some people should not be parents.
4ZZZ Book Club
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, interviews
Sky interviewed Romy Ash about Floundering, travelling to remote Australian communities, and what happens when you start speaking like your protagonists. Originally broadcast on 4ZZZ Book Club on 31 May 2012.
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Hard to read, but wonderfully written at the same time. It's heartbreaking to know that there are children out there, for whom life is exactly like it is for the characters in this book, but for real.
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very hard story to read. Takes place in Australia. A very easy to believe story told from a child's point of view about a road trip with his mom--who probably should never have been a mom.
Stephen Barker
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-ya-fiction
Can't say I enjoyed this book, but admired some aspects of it.
On the plus side it is an acutely observed novel with some great descriptive writing and convincing dialogue.
On the negative, that same dialogue doesn't use quotation marks - 'WHY?' Interestingly this matters less when reading very rapidly, but trying to unpick the dialogue at slower reading pace is unrewarding and confusing.
The narrative is relentlessly bleak, a 'road-trip' through Australia's underbelly, that translates all too easi
Gregory Marris
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
The relationship between the two brothers reminded me very much of the relationship I had with my brother at the same age. There is only 18 months difference between us, myself being the younger brother. For me their relationship rang true. Fortunately, we had a stable loving mother...
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: australian-reads
Why do i insist on reading books like this when i'm feeling emotionally fragile?
Lesley Moseley
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
3 1/2 Fast paced, well written and enjoyable.
Clare Smith
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
very very heartbreaking and confronting. Well worth the read
Craig Peters
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Faaaaaarrk that was depressing.
Catherine Sweeney
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
My heart aches for these two boys. I don't know if "enjoyed" is the right word for this book but I was consumed by it.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I came across this title in a review of Australian summer reads, and it happened to be a available as an ebook from my local library.

Not for the faint hearted. Two teenage boys in the care of grandparents are removed by their mother, and driven away. Without a plan or resources, trouble ensues. Any further thoughts would spoil.
Brian Sullivan
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
“The air of reality (solidity of specification) seems to me to be the supreme virtue of a novel” wrote Henry James. and the world view and characters in Floundering are all too believable. The terse language compelling, at first, but perhaps grating by the end. But, in places, I was also feeling a little doubtful: sometimes the language is too picturesque for a prepuescent boy.

Also, I am left with questions more than answers - but I sense that is deliberate. The tile of the book is 'Foundering'
Karen Beath
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it

What a tragic novel. And by tragic I mean well-written with a tragic storyline. Floundering is the debut novel by Romy Ash and I hope to read more of her novels in future.

It tells the story of 2 boys, Jordy and Tom, who are living with their grandparents until they are 'kidnapped' by their estranged mother and taken on a road trip across the Nullarbor to a small caravan park in WA. Their mother, Loretta is a ditsy, heavy drinker and completely incapable of looking after them. Their neighbour Nev
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Romy Ash graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in 2001 and went on to become editor of Syntax Magazine.Her (research) Masters was awarded by the University of Melbourne (School of Culture and Communication) in 2009 for 'Dead Drunk', a thesis examining the representation of the drunk in Australian fiction.
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