A finalist for the National Book Award in 2004, Schutt’s book sold poorly. Overall, she’s had little popular success. More’s the pity because language adores her.
“Florida” is about young Alice Fivey, shunted from relative to relative, desert to northlands; her father is dead, her mother an aloof madwoman exiled to a Florida asylum.
Speech is enchanted: “The moon was a scold.” “The sky lifted, turned black, grew stars.” People do not walk but “sleek” through rooms, hands have “steamy urgency,” cars “are emerald and take the light richly,” cats “flop dog-wise.”
Poetic novelists can fall in love with their flourish. Instead, Schutt’s poetry is a nutrient; her characters are walking wisps.