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Floyd Harbor - Stories - cover

Floyd Harbor - Stories

Joel Mowdy

Publisher: Catapult

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Mowdy's debut, a collection of linked stories, is quietly devastating in its intimate view of often invisible lives (the evicted, the addicted, the probated, the abused), and is set in a fictional Long Island working class hamlet near Mastic Beach, NY—where the author himself grew up
Mowdy's editor, Pat Strachan, is widely celebrated for her preeminent discovery of the most urgent new voices in fiction: Marilynne Robinson, Lydia Davis, Padgett Powell, Jamaica Kincaid  
Mowdy's timely stories offer a sharp, unflinching portrait of American characters, economies, and lifestyles that have—in recent years—been finally paid attention to by the media, and by readers at large. Janitors, Vietnam veterans, opioid addicts, graveyard shifters, sex workers, and salaried employees on the brink of homelessness are all protagonists here; Mowdy is also sensitive to the ways in which the systems in which these characters operate hold them down/define who they are 
 For readers who loved Claire Vaye Watkins's story collection, Battleborn, Andre Dubus III's Dirty Love, Phil Clay's Redeployment or the powerful sense of place and class in the fiction of writers like Grace Paley, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and Charles D'Ambrosio; also for readers who read nonfiction like Evicted, Educated, or White Trash and wanted to see more of these kinds of lives reflected in the contemporary fiction they read
This debut author, who came to Catapult unagented, hails from a working-class upbringing in Long Island, NY, himself attended community college, grew up around combat veterans, and lost a close family member to drug addiction. Now an English teacher, he can speak articulately and honestly about the themes in his fiction and how they played out in his own life. While he lives in Bali and Lithuania, he will be returning to NAIBA region for events in support of the book
When speaking about the influences that lead him to write Floyd Harbor, the author recounted this memory: One day, I announced my plans to be a writer to an acquaintance who’d just completed a set of pushups in a mutual friend’s living room. This acquaintance had a court date coming up and was expecting to serve time in the county jail. He was bulking up for self-defense purposes.
“What are you writing a book for?” he said. “Everything’s already been written.”
“No one’s written about you,” I said. “No one’s written about Mastic Beach.”
“Good luck with that,” he said, and dropped to do another set.

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