Floyd Skloot, Writer


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Summer Blue

Story Line Press, Cloth, 1994, 218 pp

Summer Blue is Floyd Skloot's second novel.

Quotes from reviews of the book:

"Deftly pieces together a series of sharp vignettes to trace a painful yet upbeat journey of self-discovery. Jill Packard, 14, brash, rebellious and uninterested in schoolwork, agrees to her widowed father Timothy's deal--if she gets passing grades, he'll treat them both to a summer of travel and beaches. The wary but companionable duo first test the limits of their relationship in a visit with Timothy's mother near the sandy beaches of Long Island. The first in a series of sharply defined personalities, Norma Packard is insightful, feisty and able to offer exactly the right comfort to Jill after a traumatizing incident. Dad and daughter's next stop is a lakeside cabin in Michigan, where they link up with some intriguing neighbors, including a young girl with a murky past and bleak outlook who introduces Jill to some mind-altering experiences that lead to tragedy. The next leg of the journey takes the pair to an aunt's home in Oregon. Skloot blends well-limned personalities and neatly construed events with an evocative atmosphere, depicting with clarity and candor the bumpy acquisition of wisdom." —Publishers Weekly

"This penetrating but reassuring novel employs many favorite literary conventions and reshapes others to good effect. The summer-long journey of youngish widower Timothy Packard and his teenaged daughter, Jill, is unusual. Eschewing the conventional flight west, Timothy and Jill travel in a geographical triangle; Jill perceives it as a delta, 'a symbol for change,' but it also represents redemption and closure. Traditional episodes such as sexual encounters for both major characters and dangerous adventures, contribute to their development. Uncharacteristically, father and daughter share many important experiences. Each is well aware that the other is changing, and each encounters both strangers and figures from the past, which emphasizes their deepening understanding and growing closeness. Though nothing can protect Tim from loneliness or Jill from loss of innocence, shared experience and genuine communication do assuage pain and avert familiar disintegration." —Library Journal

"As father and daughter journey across the country, both discover truths about themselves and each other. Skloot, an award-winning poet, novelist, and essayist, has a delicate touch, allowing his characters to grow and change slowly as they come to terms with the challenges of sex and love, the pain of injury and death, the nature and demands of friendship, and the need for forgiveness. A caring and compassionate story." —Booklist

"Mr. Skloot's ear for dialog is wonderful, especially among his female characters.  The book ultimately offers an affecting portrait of family unity and love." —New York Times Book Review

"Skloot's prose is graceful and clear; his eye for detail is especially good . . . . The book's strength is in its clarity, one might almost say its modesty.  It is the heartfelt, closely told story of two people working out their love for each other." —Virginia Quarterly Review

"The author does a good job shaping his characters. This is a tender story of growing up, told very much in exchanges of conversation. . . . Summer Blue offers poignant insight into hardships of youth." —Tri-City  Herald

"Skloot's ability to render character through dialogue and description is masterful. He offers the reader a grounded reality, real enough to materialize off the page. A hard novel to put down." —Eugene Weekly