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To help support independent publishing, Float may be purchased directly from Ashland Creek Press.
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FLOAT, is published by Ashland Creek Press.

Book Group Discussion Questions

Press release for FLOAT.

Q & A about FLOAT.

Read the reviews

Listen to an excerpt


When everything around you is sinking, sometimes it takes desperate measures to stay afloat�

When Duncan Leland looks down at the garbage-strewn beach beneath his office window, he sees the words God Help Us scrawled in the sand. While it seems a fitting message�not only is Duncan�s business underwater, but his marriage is drowning as well�he goes down to the beach to erase it. Once there, he helps a seagull being strangled by a plastic six-pack holder�the only creature in worse shape than he is at the moment.

Duncan rescues the seagull, not realizing that he�s being filmed by a group of conceptual artists and that the footage will soon go viral, turning both him and the gull into minor celebrities. And when an unsavory yet very convincing local, Osbert Marpol, talks him into a not-quite-legitimate loan arrangement, Duncan can�t help but agree in a last-ditch attempt to save the jobs of his employees.

For a while, it seems as if things are finally looking up for Duncan�yet between his phone-sex-entrepreneur ex-girlfriend�s very public flirtations and the ever-mysterious terms of his new loan, Duncan realizes that there�s no such thing as strings-free salvation�and that it�s only a matter of time before the tide rises ominously around him again.

A wry tale of financial desperation, conceptual art, insanity, infertility, seagulls, marital crisis, jellyfish, organized crime, and the plight of a plastic-filled ocean, JoeAnn Hart�s novel takes a smart, satirical look at family, the environment, and life in a hardscrabble seaside town in Maine.

FLOAT, whose first chapter won the Doug Fir Fiction Award for environmental fiction in 2010, is about the interplay of art, industry and plastics in the ocean. "Infinite Kingdom" is a short story excerpted from FLOAT in Precipitate (now called Newfound), an on-line journal that explores non-traditional perspectives of the physical world. Listen HERE.

"In this witty, profound, and beautifully observed novel JoeAnn Hart follows the vicissitudes of Duncan Leland, the beleaguered owner of Seacrest Ocean Products as he grapples with bankruptcy, conceptual art, and marital woes. I very much admire the contemporary concerns of Hart's characters and her intricate and entertaining plot."
Margot Livesey

"Could there be a more hilarious sad sack than Duncan Leland, whose trials and tribulations, so wittily conveyed, had me laughing (and wincing) from the first page? Hart's Maine landscape is rich with eccentric characters, dried fish, and other surprising and original treasures. While Duncan sinks, the reader will float on a cloud nine of classy entertainment."
Mameve Medwed

"[Float] is all of these things: joyful and troubling, hilarious and somber, evocative and introspective." Read more...
Stefanie Freele, Necessary Fiction

If you are in quest of quirky, one-of-a-kind characters, then go to the earth�s edges, to the islands, to the remote enclaves. JoeAnn Hart went to the Galapagos of civilization, Port Ellery, Maine, to create her unique assemblage of fabulously funny, hopelessly conflicted characters. Bearing a certain charming resemblance to �Moonrise Kingdom,� her new book, �Float,� entwines real human drama with earnest, intelligent characters doing and saying the absurd all while in search of something better. There isn�t a page that doesn�t produce a laugh. Not a page that doesn�t evoke a wince. You�ll savor every scene. Read more...

Gloucester resident tackles plastics problem in novel

In a literary alchemy, Gloucester author JoeAnn Hart has transformed the essence of the word �float� and its multiple meanings into an environmental novel featuring Maine characters as complex as those who reside in this city, the nation�s oldest seaport. Read more...

Hart�s warm-hearted storytelling propels us to care, to hope and to inhabit her flawed, beautiful watery world. Read more...