Tad Crawford’s A Floating Life is ostensibly fiction. The nameless narrator is adrift, not knowing where he is, where he will end up, and why he finds himself in disparate places. As fiction, the plot revolves around his confusion about his sudden dislocations, the breakup of his marriage, and his new job as assistant to someone who is trying to harness the energy of the waves.
But that is only important if one accepts the story as fiction. The story, however, is not fiction. It is not even surreal fiction, although the situations that happen to our narrator are all quite dreamlike. Rather, this book is almost like a literary rift on change, fluidity, and confusion. The thematic question is: “What is change? What is energy? How do we drift with life? How do we control our drifting? And will our hero learn to change and to accept change, come what may?”
The book is philosophical, speculative psychology. Therefore those who buy this book expecting anything like a story will be very disappointed. But those who like books that symbolically explore the human psyche will find this book very beautiful, odd, fantastical and profound as it rifts on existence, change, goals, and cosmic and human energy. Those who like Jonathon Livingston Seagull and Carlos Castenada might like this. Some of the images used by Crawford will lodge in and haunt the psyche for a long while.