The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld
By Justin Hocking
(Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555976699, 266pp.)
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
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Surfing in Far Rockaway, romantic obsession, and "Moby-Dick" converge in this winning and refreshing memoir
Winner of the Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction
Justin Hocking lands in New York hopeful but adrift-he's jobless, unexpectedly overwhelmed and disoriented by the city, struggling with anxiety and obsession, and attempting to maintain a faltering long-distance relationship. As a man whose brand of therapy has always been motion, whether in a skate park or on a snowdrift, Hocking needs an outlet for his restlessness. Then he spies his first New York surfer hauling a board to the subway, and its not long before he's a member of the vibrant and passionate surfing community at Far Rockaway. But in the wake of a traumatic robbery incident, the dark undercurrents of his ocean-obsession pull him further and further out on his own night sea journey.
With "Moby-Dick" as a touchstone, and interspersed with interludes on everything from the history of surfing to Scientology's naval ties to the environmental impact of the Iraq War, "The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld "is a multifaceted and enduring modern odyssey from a memorable and whip-smart new literary voice.