Florida Man: Book summary and reviews of Florida Man by Tom Cooper

Florida Man

by Tom Cooper

Florida Man by Tom Cooper X
Florida Man by Tom Cooper
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  • Published Jul 2020
    416 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

A masterfully written, darkly hilarious novel that shows how one man's small decision can unleash forces beyond his control in the swamplands of Florida.

Florida, circa 1980. Reed Crowe, the eponymous Florida Man, is a middle-aged beach bum, beleaguered and disenfranchised, living on ill-gotten gains deep in the jungly heart of Florida. When sinkholes start opening on Emerald Island, not only are Reed Crowe's seedy businesses—a moribund motel and a shabby amusement park—endangered, but so are his secrets. Crowe, amateur spelunker, begins uncovering artifacts that change his understanding of the island's history, as well as his understanding of his family's birthright as pioneering homesteaders.

Meanwhile, there are other Florida men with whom Crowe must contend. Hector "Catface" Morales, a Cuban refugee, trained assassin, and crack-addicted Marielito, is seeking revenge on Reed for stealing his stash of drugs and leaving him for dead (unbeknownst to Reed) in the wreckage of a plane crash in the Everglades decades ago. Loner and misanthrope Henry Yahchilane, a Seminole native, has something to hide on the island. So does irascible and pervy Wayne Wade, Reed Crowe's childhood friend turned bad penny. Then there are the Florida women, including Heidi Karavas, Reed Crowe's ex-wife, now a globe-trekking art curator, and Nina Arango, a Cuban refugee and fiercely protective woman with whom Reed Crowe falls in love. There are curses. There are sea monsters. There are biblical storms. There's something called the Jupiter Effect.

Ultimately, Florida Man is a generation-spanning story about how a man decides to live his life, and how despite staying landlocked and stubbornly in one place, the world nevertheless comes to him.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Cooper made a memorable debut with The Marauders. This second act delivers an even messier, nastier, more brutal, and engaging yarn that spans decades on a remote outpost deep in the wilds of Florida...This cocktail's recipe would be one part Travis McGee, one part Carl Hiaasen, and a salt shaker full of magical realism." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Throughout, Cooper's macabre and brutal universe crackles with energy and wit, and will hold readers' attention until the very end. Cooper's riotous, riveting tale rivals the best of Don Winslow." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"There are few words that will do Florida Man justice, but to try: Ribald. Audacious. Terrifying. Florida Man is Cooper's singular, hallucinatory expression of deep American weirdness, a thing enjoyed and then survived, like a tangerine sunset overtaken by a purple hurricane. Hang in, people." - Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek

"This is the kind of book I'm desperate to read right now. A riotous journey into the heart of insanity also known as the state of Florida. Bravo!" - Gary Shteyngart, author of Lake Success

This information about Florida Man was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Tom Cooper Author Biography

Photo: Eden Swartz

Tom Cooper has been published in dozens of literary magazines and journals, most recently in Oxford American, Mid-American Review, Gulf Coast, Boulevard, and Willow Springs. He is the author of The Marauders, his first novel, and his stories have been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in New Orleans.

Other books by Tom Cooper at BookBrowse
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