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A Floating Life

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  26 reviews
A Floating Life will delight lovers of Kafka, Murakami, and the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It immediately draws the reader into a fantastic world of multiple journeys that make the hallucinatory feel real. A nameless narrator awakens to the muddle of middle age, no longer certain who or what he is. He finds himself at a party talking to a woman he doesn't ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published September 2012 by Arcade Publishing (first published August 6th 2012)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  76 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I definitely enjoyed this read, though most of the time I felt like a lot of it went over my head. I quickly learned to just roll with it, since even the main character often admitted to being totally clueless about what was going on.
Trying to explain it presents a bit of a challenge. The book reads like segments of dreams. They sort of make sense as they happen, but an abbreviated retelling is just weird. I think this makes for a great book when you’re tired of the same genre. It is a bit like
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it
So this is what I thought about this book:

Strange. Odd. Unpredictable. Compelling. And what's the word for when you have a strange dream that you wake from, wondering if it had bits of the real in it, and unsure of what just happened? I don't know a word for that. It's difficult to articulate the reaction I had to reading this book. As you can see from the summary, the book has a nameless narrator who is in the middle of his life, going from situation to situation. There is a surrealism that
Nancy Freund
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is my review of it at Necessary Fiction...
Many weeks later, I have to say I like the experience of reading this one even MORE.

Tad Crawford’s debut novel, A Floating Life, is a scattering of narrative puzzle pieces that fit together unexpectedly. They do not complete a single storyline image, but they are very satisfying to play with and seek points of connection.
An unnamed “everyman” character finds himself in a difficult job interview in an unlikely place. Unaware of his prior interest in
Zoe Brooks
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic-realism
I often read blogs, in which writers give advice to other writers. Some of the advice is good, some of it obvious and some of it suggests the writer has not read many books. One example of the latter sort of advice is “Don’t write about dreams.” Clearly that person has not read Lewis Carroll. And nor have s/he read Tad Crawford’s A Floating Life.

Like Alice in Wonderland the whole of Crawford’s book has a dreamlike quality. There are dreams in the book, but which sections are the central
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This review originally appeared on my blog at - please join the community. I would love to hear from you.

I picked up this book solely on the pretext that it combines the styles of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Haruki Murakami to become an astounding work of magical realism. ‘A Floating Life’ reminded me a lot of ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ in many respects, but I failed to see Gabriel Garcia Marquez in this work.

This unnamed narrator
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Speaking (or writing) as of the mythic, the absurd, the strange, or the monstrous can often be apt choices when trying to effectively illustrate one's ideas about things that are pedestrian, commonplace, and/or so normal as to avoid frequent examination. Such styles must be carefully employed to reveal specific truths by a writer who really knows what he's about. Tad Crawford knows what he's about and employs surrealism as well as good old-fashioned whimsy and weirdness to give the reader ...more
Peter Prasad
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: men & thinkers
Recommended to Peter by: friend of the author
Shelves: new-reviews
Huzzah Tad Crawford! If a series of Hieronymus Bosh paintings were turned into a novel, you might have half of what Tad Crawford has constructed in A Floating Life. The other half of this elegant novel touches on nautical exploration, self-sacrifice and service to others. Like a cork, we bounce through an examination of cultures, values and experiences that tug at the fabric of our imagination. Are these dreams? Serial portraits? Who cares – just jump in.

Expect your emotions to be stretched with
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In “A Floating Life,” Tad Crawford offers us a smorgasbord of delights--an intriguing story that is both profound and whimsical, a mystery that doesn’t become a mystery until it’s solved; a morality tale that doesn’t moralize.

It’s a rich tapestry of life by a skilled weaver and philosopher, who has given much thought to the important issues of a life worth living-- love, friendship, and marriage; freedom and liberty; power and control; and growth of the human spirit. Perfect food for a book
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
"A Floating Life," which I won in the Goodread Giveaways is a contemporary story of man who seems lost in the changes that come with midlife. He seems to float through life in a daze, not really aware of what is happening to him. At the beginning of the story the man tries to save his failing marriage and pursue a new career but both quickly go sour. Although he persists in trying to salvage elements of his life, his attempt is thwarted and in the end he loses his apartment and even his potency ...more
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I'm sort of in the middle about this book. I've never read a book quite like this, sort of hallucinatory, a little bit uncertain (of where the narrator is) but it's well-written and flows along like a sleepy river - or a river where there might be some rapids, but the reader isn't quite certain where they are. Perhaps if I read more fiction of this type I might have a better handle on things. I guess the best thing to do is just read and let the author take you where he wants, which is all ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Ugh, one of the worst books I’ve read. So disjointed with very little cohesion. Couldn’t care less about the protagonist. I like the character that built the models, but even there: so many loose ends with nothing to tie them together.
Jul 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
I won this book for free through the GoodReads giveaway program. I encourage you to pick up a copy of your own to form your own opinions and share your review.

This is the type of novel that aggravates the hell out of me and drives me crazy! Yet, I somehow I was unable to stop reading and made it all the way through. I think it's because of the hard back binding and the larger serif font that made it seem like it wouldn't be a long read.

Parts of this book were confusing whereas other parts flow
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it
A Floating Life by Tad Crawford Book Review

Do you ever have dreams so vibrant that you wonder if they are real or imagined? In the fantastical novel “ A Floating Life” (which I received as a Goodreads giveaway), the author ,Ted Crawford, has created a very entertaining plot. The main character starts out in a sauna being interviewed for a sous chef position, by a one-eyed chef. I know! That is imagination for you! The man did not get the job unfortunately and things only get worse for him.
What an odd, interesting, imaginative book! I couldn't put it down once I started!

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I will predict that this book will go down in history as a classic, along with twain and shakespeare... and I'm not exaggerating...

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I am so happy to have won this book on Goodreads! Thank you!
Kira Ryder
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

If you like surreal books, I recommend this one. The narrator - whose name eludes even him - faces middle age as though it's a dream. That's what the chapters made me think of: Strange dreams which could be real if everything was possible.

I loved the writing style, though I'm sure I missed the point in many places, and saw symbolism where there most likely was none...But that's my problem, not the author's. By the time I finished the
Sean Foy
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Certainly bizarre, surreal, and disjointed, as expected. The surrealism was laid on a bit too thick for me - this type of fiction frustrates me when I need to constantly question whether I lack the sophistication to unpack the absurdity or if the author was carried away with them self. That said, I liked Tad Crawford's voice and writing style.

As with any novel that hits on the nature male sexuality and casts talking animals, a Murakami comparison will be drawn. I would say that the similarities
Kim Faraci
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is easy to escape to the wonderfully bizarre "floating world" experienced through the narrator's senses, especially when meeting all of the unique characters he encounters. The author's imaginative storytelling and quirky wit are entertaining, while his exploration of the self and surrealism are thought-provoking. As a fan of Murakami, this remarkable novel was right up my alley!
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Crazy book. Kind of all over the place and some of the scenes don't seem to be connected to the rest of the story. But it was very original and if you are into surrealism you would probably enjoy it.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
So. Well. That was, um. Kind of weird. Just when I thought I understood it and could relate what was going on to my own experiences, it went in a new (and kind of strange) direction. Mom, Suzanne, you'd both hate this book. I'll have to think about this book some more.
Tiffin-Seneca Public Library
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: cm
This is a very bizarre book that I can't really explain. A narrator (we never learn his name) takes multiple bizarre journeys that hug the border between the real and the fantastic. I look forward to what Crawford will offer us next.
Kari Shear
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantastical and obscure--Crawford's imagination and voice were absolutely addicting. Beyond the sophisticated literary and philosophical appeal, there is a story to which all can relate. Not my typical read, but definitely could not put this one down. I would strongly recommend this book :)
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't as into the sur-real stuff but this caught my interest anyway. I am more afraid it would be too out there for me. However the writer draws you into it. Keeps it interesting and I was able to follow along. It is hard for me to even compare the writing to other writers.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This novel was surreal, bizarre, and unlike anything I've read in a long time. I loved the author's unique voice and the unpredictable plot. I'm a big Kafka fan, and if you are too, you should definitely pick this up!
Barbara Leuthe
very jumping around book took a bit to get used to the style.I recieved this book free from goodreads first reads
Tammy Collet
I got this a s a "First Reads" Giveaway from Goodreads. I enjoyed the imagery used throughout the book but found it challenging to follow when it jumped from one state of being to another.
Cee Marie
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I didn't like this book too much. I was kind of bored, though I must admit that the strange new idea was very original and intriguing to a degree.
Olivia Kehoe
rated it liked it
Dec 15, 2013
Ann Fantom
rated it it was ok
Oct 28, 2012
Brian Roberts
rated it liked it
Mar 08, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jan 25, 2013
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Making Connections: 812. A FLOATING LIFE by Tad Crawford 10 85 Mar 26, 2013 07:24PM  
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I'm the author of the novel A Floating Life as well as The Secret Life of Money and a dozen other nonfiction books, chiefly on the business lives of artists and writers. My stories and articles have appeared in such venues as Art in America, The Café Irreal, Confrontation, Communication Arts, Family Circle, Glamour, Guernica, The Nation, and Writer's Digest.

I am the founder and publisher of