Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Old Mr. Flood” as Want to Read:
Old Mr. Flood
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Old Mr. Flood

4.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  142 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
One of the best chroniclers of New York, Joseph Mitchell, a transplanted North Carolinian wrote for The New Yorker from the late '30s through the early '60s. Mitchell specialized in people and institutions at the margins of society. Old Mr. Flood is about retired house wrecker Hugh G. Flood who plans to live to 115 years old on a diet of fresh seafood, harbor air and the o ...more
Paperback, 122 pages
Published April 22nd 2005 by MacAdam/Cage Publishing (first published 1948)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Old Mr. Flood, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Old Mr. Flood

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty  SmithBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman CapoteExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Tales of New York City
399th out of 994 books — 919 voters
Old Yeller by Fred GipsonThe Old Curiosity Shop by Charles DickensArsenic and Old Lace by Joseph KesselringOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. EliotThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Any Old Thing
49th out of 116 books — 27 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 274)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Erin Boyington
Old Mr. Flood is determined to live to 115 on his steady diet of whiskey, oysters, and good stories in these wonderfulNew Yorkerpieces.

This book makes me so sad that the only "oysters" near me are the Rocky Mountain kind(and yes, I've tried them - deep-fried). When I lived in Seattle, a few friends and I made a day trip to Quilcene to go oyster hunting. I had never eaten an oyster before, and was unsure I would enjoy the taste or the texture. Raw shellfish? What? But being a fan of sushi (shout-
Jan 30, 2015 James rated it it was amazing
This is a short, simple account of the staunchly independent and seafood-obsessed Mr. Flood, an elderly bachelor who is determined to live to be 115 and thinks he knows just how to do it. It’s also a wonderful sketch of life in lower Manhattan during the 1930s-1940s. The writing is crystal clear and smooth, making the simplicity of Hemingway’s work look like James Joyce, and to be honest, Mitchell has none of Hemingway’s egoisms or his choppy style (I like most of Hemingway, but admit it, the gu ...more
Nov 01, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing
Why have I not read everything that Joseph Mitchell ever wrote? When I read The Bottom of the Harbor a number of years ago, I was enthralled by Mitchell's brand of journalism-as-literature. Today, I found a copy of Old Mr. Flood being remaindered. I not only snapped it up, but roared through it in a single sitting.

Both books I have mentioned deal primarily with the world of New York Harbor, comprising the boatmen, buyers and sellers of fish, and anyone else even remotely connected with the getti
May 23, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Crank, codger, salty old coot? Sure, Mr. Flood is all of that, but he’s also 100% original American (from that time when we had originals, before television, political correctness, and wireless techno-selves). Even in his mid 90s he speaks his mind without hesitation, drinks his liquor straight, and has a good 10,000 stories on tap to amuse and educate--and even if he’s told you most of them before, it won’t stop him from doing so again. Yes, it’s homo americanas: tough, crass, filled with bizar ...more
"When I was a boy on State Island, hens ate grit and grasshoppers and scraps from the table and whatever else they could scratch out of the ground, and a platter of scrambled eggs was a delight."

"...and one was a captain of a seiner in the old Long Island Sound gurry-fleet that caught moss-bunkers for fertilizer factories."

"'I've got a pig toe, a pistol grip, a heel splitter, a warty back, a maple leaf, a monkey face, a rose bud, a rabbit's foot, and a butterfly,' he says with pride. 'I had a wa
Andrea Engle
May 10, 2015 Andrea Engle rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
Collection of three spirited, atmospheric short stories by a fabled, "New Yorker" writer ... feisty, ninety-plus Mr. Flood dominates these reminiscences of 1940s New York, particularly the area around the Fulton Fish Market ... an interesting exploration of what it means to be old ...
Jun 03, 2015 Zoli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never heard of Joseph Mitchell before but picked this book of his up, and I really liked the stories about his contemporary New Yorkers and the way Mitchell portrays them. Two other Joseph Mitchell books are already waiting to be read next.
Nov 12, 2014 Autumn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
This book is written in the typical Mitchell style. It's a brilliant and insightful glimpse into the life of old Mr. Flood and happenings around New York City's Fulton's Fish Market. It is a real page turner that I didn't want to put it down.
Mar 12, 2016 André rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sehr schöne Sammlung von Kurzgeschichten der Kategorie "tall stories" - manchmal hat man allerdings das Gefühl, dass doch ein bisschen was in der Übersetzung verloren geht.
Jan 28, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Very neat. Makes you think.
Apr 24, 2011 Reacher rated it really liked it
Mitchell has a very different writing style than you see in fiction today. Use of short, clear, simple sentences with an active voice. Hyper descriptive, short on metaphors. This is a mesmerizing story, and one that will energize you next time you're feeling old or sorry for yourself. It also touched off my fascination with eating raw oysters (that's where I can be found most Friday evenings now, at one of the many $1 raw bars here in Boston, with a lemon wedge in my hand and a smile on my face) ...more
Jan 13, 2013 patty rated it liked it
This book isn't about one Mr. Flood - it's about several characters working at or hanging out at the Fulton Fish Market along the East River in Manhattan in the early part of the twentieth century. Serious fishermen along the East Coast would love this book. Apparently "industry" started to take out these prime oyster and clam beds over 100 years ago. Destruction of wildlife by pollution comes up several times in the book. What would these characters think today?
Dec 26, 2013 Brisbride13 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ed O'farrell
Dec 22, 2012 Ed O'farrell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-stories
Joseph Mitchell is one of my favorite writers. He is incapable of penning a bad sentence, let alone a bad story. The title says it all... this is a book about a real-life character of the New York streets. The story is told with compassion, dignity, humor and should be a must read for any student of writing. A good read, well worth the money.
Shacey Petrovic
Apr 24, 2010 Shacey Petrovic rated it really liked it
i wish i could rate this book a 3.5. it is a solid b+. i loved mitchell's restraint- he manages, with plain declarative sentences, to render authentic characters and a vivid world - all without much fanfare. so far so good...but outside of a character study, it doesn't amount to much more. it was enough for me.
Jack Fischer
His colleague A.J. Liebling may be better known, Mitchell wrote accounts of low-life and everyday life New York City in the 1940s that are like nothing else. Mr Flood, actually a composite of a number of denizens of Fulton Fish Market, brilliantly resurrects a world long gone. Funny, too.
Apr 10, 2013 Robert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-13-season
Three thematic magazine pieces presented in a slim volume. This is the only acknowledged fiction ever published by the reporter Joseph Mitchell, and in his introduction to the work Mitchell codifies Stephen Colbert's concept of truthiness half a century early.
Jan 15, 2014 Peter rated it it was amazing
A charming, delightful and marvelous evocation of a vanished place and time. I posted some more thoughts and a couple of great excerpts over at my blog.
Bro_Pair أعرف
Sep 23, 2012 Bro_Pair أعرف rated it it was amazing
Fun, Mitchell's a lovely writer. A New York that has entirely disappeared. Reading this, it occurs to me it'd be suitable for a 10-13 year-old boy, I would've loved this book back then
Feb 18, 2014 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Andersen-Andrade
Old Mr. Flood is a charming and nostalgic view of a New York City that no longer exists except in distant memories.
Colin marked it as to-read
Apr 11, 2016
Kim Harris
Kim Harris rated it really liked it
Apr 10, 2016
Lynda rated it it was amazing
Apr 03, 2016
Patrick rated it it was amazing
Mar 31, 2016
Mitchell Wade
Mitchell Wade rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2016
Andrew marked it as to-read
Mar 25, 2016
Alice rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2016
Angus Page
Angus Page marked it as to-read
Mar 13, 2016
Kristin LiBretto
Kristin LiBretto marked it as to-read
Mar 09, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Later the Same Day
  • Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany
  • I Would Have Saved Them If I Could
  • Boswell: A Modern Comedy
  • The Rose Garden: Short Stories
  • The Oranging of America and Other Stories
  • Letter from New York: BBC Woman's Hour Broadcasts
  • Falling in Place
  • Gogol's Wife and Other Stories
  • Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer
  • Best European Fiction 2010
  • The Understory: A Novel
  • The Collected Stories of Peter Taylor
  • Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead
  • A Life Force
  • All the Time in the World: New and Selected Stories
  • Oh What a Paradise It Seems
  • How to Castrate a Bull: Unexpected Lessons on Risk, Growth, and Success in Business
There is more than one author with this name

Joseph Mitchell was an American writer who wrote for The New Yorker. He is known for his carefully written portraits of eccentrics and people on the fringes of society, especially in and around New York City.
More about Joseph Mitchell...

Share This Book

“You’re a trouble-maker. What race do you belong to, anyhow?’ ‘The human race,’ I said. ‘I come from the womb and I’m bound for the tomb, the same as you, the same as King George the Six, the same as Johnny Squat.” 2 likes
“I’m not going to stand for it any longer," said Mr. Flood. "I’m going to put my foot down. All I want in this world is a little peace and quiet, and he gets me all raced up. Here a while back I heard a preacher talking on the radio about the peacefulness of the old, and I thought to myself, ‘You ignorant man!’ I’m ninety-four years old and I have never yet had any peace, to speak of. My mind is just a turmoil of regrets. It’s not what I did that I regret, it’s what I didn’t do. Except for the bottle, I always walked the straight and narrow; a family man, a good provider, never cut up, never did ugly, and I regret it. In the summer of 1902 I came real close to getting in serious trouble with a married woman, but I had a fight with my conscience and my conscience won, and what’s the result? I had two wives, good, Christian women, and I can’t hardly remember what either of them looked like, but I can remember the face on that woman so clear it hurts, and there’s never a day passes I don’t think about her, and there’s never a day passes I don’t curse myself. ‘What kind of a timid, dried-up, weevily fellow were you?’ I say to myself. ‘You should’ve said to hell with what’s right and what’s wrong, the devil take the hindmost. You’d have something to remember, you’d be happier now.’ She’s out in Woodlawn, six feet under, and she’s been there twenty-two years, God rest her, and here I am, just an old, old man with nothing but a belly and a brain and a dollar or two."

"Life is sad," said Mr. Maggiani.”
More quotes…