In the summer of 1955, nine-year-old Amanda Gerber tearfully leaves her best friend, Francine, and their adventurous life on her block in Brooklyn’s Flatbush. She joins her cantankerous family on the long, hot drive to her grandmother’s home in the Catskill Mountains among the city’s Jews who flock to countless hotels and bungalow colonies in the heyday of the Borscht Belt. In the idyllic mountains, Amanda becomes ensconced in the tumult of her extended family and their friends, often seeking solace in the woods with her beloved cousin Laura.
Through the following summers, interspersed with the heightened drama of her emotionally charged city life, Amanda faces severe tests to her survival mechanisms, including the pain of loss, abuse, and betrayal, while family secrets threaten to disrupt her life even further. A novel-in-stories, Floating in the Neversink is a testament to the power of survival, friendship, and love.
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Floating in the Neversink is set in the summer of 1955 when Amanda Gerber is nine years old, and has to leave her best friend Francine and her home in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Amanda and her family are headed to her grandmother’s home in the Catskills, and here she spends her summer with her cousin, Laura.
I love the authenticity of this novel. From the beautiful writing that made me feel as though I was transported back to the summer of 1955. Andrea Simon captured this wonderfully.
The theme of friendship is ever present in Floating in the Neversink. It was a bit nostalgic about childhood friendship. There are also dark themes of abuse and mental illness is addressed with respect. I was very impressed.
Floating in the Neversink isn’t necessarily a book I would grab for, but I’m glad I didn’t miss out on it! It’s a beautiful story with a lot of heart and wonderful writing. Definitely worth a read.
Andrea Simon is a writer and photographer based in New York City. She has worked as an editor, writer, and manager on diverse projects, and was the co-owner of an editorial/production company that specialized in health-related educational materials. For the past several years, she has devoted her efforts to fiction and literary nonfiction, including her published memoir/history, Bashert: A Granddaughter’s Holocaust Quest, now in a paperback edition; her award-winning historical novel, Esfir Is Alive; and her new novel-in-stories, Floating in the Neversink. Andrea has published numerous stories and essays and has received prestigious literary honors, including the winner of the Ernest Hemingway First Novel Contest, two Dortort Creative Writing Awards, the Stark Short Fiction Prize, the Short Story Society Award, and the Authors in the Park Short Story Writing Contest. Esfir Is Alive was a 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist and a 2017 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards winner.
Photographing her impressions for many decades, Andrea specialized in archival black-and-white printing, and has moved onto digital images. Her photographs have been published in numerous vehicles and displayed at international galleries.
She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York where she has taught introductory writing and creative writing. A member of the Story Circle Network (SCN), Andrea has taught an online course on “How to Write About Your Family – and Still Talk to Them Afterwards” and conducted a SCN conference workshop on writing about your mother. She has presented her work at book clubs, schools, synagogues, the 92nd Street Y, genealogy conventions, and reading series. A longtime member of a writing group, Andrea has also mentored many writers.
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