Float Up, Sing Down: Stories

Bloomsbury. Feb. 2024. 224p. ISBN 9781639730100. $26.99. F
Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner Hunt brings to life the complex and shared experiences of living in relationship to other people in his newest story collection (after The Paris Stories). As readers follow one character to the next, all of them residing in Bright Creek, IN, the shapes of their interwoven bonds to place, history, and community are revealed. Filled with quirky personalities, pithy language, and a colloquial sensibility, this volume illuminates much—where to turn left or right on what street, whose barn is across from which cornfield, the hours of the Galaxy Swirl soft-serve, and who works at the Marsh grocery store—as each story adds new levels of understanding to the last. Gladys finds solace in walking through the shady corn fields. Hank, a respected retired sheriff, likes to climb to the top of his grain silos to dream of whales. Be they kindhearted mechanic, stalwart loud-laughing matron, tolerated local moocher, or identity-seeking teen—all of the characters have dignity and reason.
VERDICT While the stories work as stand-alone pieces, they also form a beautiful whole. This is a loving portrait of small-town Middle America that resonates well beyond its borders.
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