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Floating Dragon by Peter Straub
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Floating Dragon (original 1983; edition 2003)

by Peter Straub

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783None11,792 (3.62)17
Member:donalbane26
Title:Floating Dragon
Authors:Peter Straub
Info:Berkley (2003), Edition: Reissue, Mass Market Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
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Floating Dragon by Peter Straub (1983)

1980s (3) 20th century (3) American (3) dark fantasy (2) F (4) fantasy (16) fiction (73) ghosts (3) hardcover (8) HC (3) horror (165) horror fiction (5) literature (2) mmpb (6) murder (3) mystery (8) novel (16) owned (2) paperback (6) paranormal (2) Peter Straub (7) read (7) signed (2) small town (3) Straub (4) supernatural (9) suspense (8) thriller (8) to-read (16) unread (7)

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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I have had mixed success with Straub in the past but this $4 book fair find has returned him firmly into the realms of one of my favourite authors of horror. This book was much more along the lines of my favourite King novels. The story is dragged out deliciously slowly and builds to a crescendo that leaves you unable to put the book down for the last hundred pages or so. Loved it. ( )
  qofd | Jan 10, 2014 |
A government experiment goes awry and a deadly gas is released over the affluent suburb of Hampstead, Connecticut. Meanwhile, the decendants of the town's original founders return to Hampstead for the firts time in over 100 years, igniting a firestorm of events that are the continuation of an ongoing curse.

After I read (and was completely scared shitless) by Ghost Story in high school, I was afraid to read anything else by Straub. I remember passing up Shadowland and this book; by then I was involved with reading too many other writers to be concerned with him. But rereading Ghost Story last year got me thinking about investigating more of Straub's work and the 30th Anniversry edition of FD seemed like a good place to start.

I was mistaken about that as this book was a huge disappointment.

I think the biggest problem with Floating Dragon was that it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a supernatural or science-gone-awry tale. It begins with a pretty good setup of a DOD expereimental project getting released into the atmosphere and then becoems the tale of a curse over Hampstead that recurs every 30 years or so. Even as the two threads continue, they never mesh in any significant way--in fact, the narrator of the story decides that the chemical accident was merely a coincidence. So the reader is left wondering why it was needed to bloat an already over-wrought story.

Then there is the narrator of the story, a black-listed author of novels/screenplays who ex-patriated himself to England and alcoloholism until the McCarthy-era ended. He begins his story in the third person, but then breaks in with a chapter of first-person narration to explain his role in the affair. He says he got most of his information from the diaries of the three other protagonmists, but he may have made some stuff up himself--he's a writer after all, and he may not have remembered stuff very well. Then it's back to the first-person (though he does break in two more times for pointless POV narration.) So now we have a unrealiable narrator to deal with.

Finally, the overall tone of the book is one of Straub being in love with his own writing. His unrealiable narrator speaks as if he is smarter than everybody else in the room and he knows it. Add to this a setting of affluent people who are feel they are better than everybody else and there's very little to care about in this confused and off-putting tale of death and destruction. In the epilogue to the story he talks about the narrator finally publishing "the excellent book Floating Dragon"--that actually made me laugh. But it just went to the overall arrogant and confused prose relating this tale.

There was about 100 pages (divided by one of the narrator's interludes) that were pretty good--they dealt with the main storyline of the curse, not the chemical accident. And I liked the climactic scene in the Gorge at Kendall Point. But overall, this was not a memorable reading expereince. If you are a newcomer to Straub, start with another title--I recommend Ghost Story; if you're already a fan, you'll probably like it.

But Cemetery Dance's edition of the book is beautiful (I gave it and extra 1/2 star for that!) ( )
  srboone | Apr 20, 2013 |
This book to me ages to read. Did not think it was that good as some of the amazon reviewers say it is. From the beginning I thought it was confusing, too many people, to many time jumps, and later in the book I noticed another fault, too many plots.

It is not bad but I would not want to re-read this this in comparison with The Stand which i read so many times. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Apr 12, 2013 |
The concept of a whole town subjected to evil promises so much, yet this Straub effort delivers so little. A chemical weapon leak creates confusion in a small coastal town at the same time a recurrent malevolent presence turns up to subvert the town to it's own despicable end. Ultimately, it is not the plot of the novel nor the plethora of characters that make this such a tough read; it is the time shifting as Straub tries to paint the real-time events that actually stop you becoming engaged. Also much of the content is redundant, this book is just too voluminous. In summary, Floating Dragon offers nothing new to the horror genre, it's unoriginal and at times is poorly executed. ( )
  SonicQuack | Jan 15, 2009 |
The quaint town of Hamptead is plunged into a nightmarish world of unspeakable horror when evil arrives in the form of two very different beings--one man-made and one supernatural.
  CollegeReading | Apr 16, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Here is a novel guaranteed to double the national nightmare quotient, so watch out.
 
A deliciously imaginative story of hauntings and monsters.
 
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Epigraph
Now time and the land
are identical,

Linked forever.
-- John Ashbery, Haunted Landscape
The devil is a dumb spirit. All the devil knows is what you tell him with your own big fat mouth. -- Frederick K. Price
Dedication
For Emma Sydney Valli Straub
First words
For Stony Baxter Friedgood, her infrequent adulteries were adventures--picking up a man who thought he was picking her up gave her life a sense of drama missing since she had been twenty and a student at Scripps-Claremont.
Quotations
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and bound him a thousand years. -Revelation 20:2
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A classic tale of supernatural horror from the acclaimed author of Koko, The Talisman and Mr X. Now reissued in a new cover style. 'Floating Dragon racks you with suspense! Straub is a master at having whole communities rocked by the forces of wickedness.' Observer The terrors afflicting the sleepy town of Hampstead, Connecticut, were beyond imagination. Sparrows dropping dead from the trees like rotten fruit, disfiguring diseases spreading like wildfire, inexplicable murders and child drownings shattering the lives of the citizens -- never can such a list of horrors have afflicted one town. But the evil madness had a long history. A catastrophe had struck Hampstead every thirty years since its foundation 300 years before -- yet only Graham Williams, a writer and descendant of one of the original founders, had looked into the 'black summers' and their mysterious origins. When he discovers that descendants of the three other original settlers are back living in the town, he knows it will be the blackest summer yet! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The quaint town of Hamptead is plunged into a nightmarish world of unspeakable horror when evil arrives in the form of two very different beings--one man-made and one supernatural.

(summary from another edition)

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