Floating in the Neversink — A Novel-in-Stories

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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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Coming this fall.

Advance Praise for Floating in the Neversink

  “The interconnected stories of Floating in the Neversink at first glance seem to portray the innocence of an idyllic past, but soon frays at the edges with its deep secrets, Amanda's unreciprocated love for her father and desire for his approval, even the darkness of sexual violation. In this novel, Andrea Simon captures the loveliness and loneliness of Amanda’s youth, and how she comes to terms with the contradictions of her childhood.” – Michelle Cameron, author of The Fruit of Her Hands and Beyond the Ghetto Gates

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 “The narrator of this humorous and poignant collection of linked short stories is Amanda Gerber, a lively and inquisitive Jewish girl, growing up in the 1950s. Mandy divides her time between a predominantly Catholic neighborhood in Brooklyn, and a Jewish summer community in New York’s Catskill Mountains where she’s surrounded by her large, multi-generational family…. In her beautiful, descriptive prose, Andrea Simon captures not only the experiences of a childhood but paints a portrait of an entire culture. Here is a broad human seriocomedy flavored with cheese blintzes and vanilla egg creams.”– Katherine Kirkpatrick, author of The Snow Baby and Mysterious Bones

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 “I laughed and cried at these vivid stories of a girl’s Catskills summers and Brooklyn school days as she ages from 9 to 15, from 1955-1961. Adventurous, dauntless Mandy, with her shyer cousin at her side, navigates the inexplicable world of her family with canny observations and a sense of survival. The adults are mired in fading jobs, their real gifts lost in the grind of living and their unspoken secrets: uncles died young, a neighbor’s perversity, job loss, infidelity, near drowning, and mental instability. Through all of this, curious Mandy shapes her own world in the woods, in grandmothers’ card games, and shut-away rooms.  Floating in the Neversink is a joy to read.”– Stephanie Cowell, author Claude and Camille and Marrying Mozart. American Book Award winner.

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