The Man Who Invented Florida by Randy Wayne White
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1993. Second Printing with numbers line begining with 2345678910 on the copyright page. Hardcover. 294 pages ; 22 cm. $20.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. A very good copy with firm binding, clean and unmarked pages.
In both of Randy Wayne White's previous books, Sanibel Flats and The Heat Islands, the author treats his readers not only to an involving tale but to colorful characters and an evocation of South Florida second to none.
Now White has expanded his canvas. The Man Who Invented Florida is an extraordinary swirl of events in the life of marine biologist Doc Ford, the loony efforts of some raffish old men to save their land from demon developers, and a most unusual kidnapping.
When Ford's semi-estranged uncle Tucker Gatrell and his Indian friend Joseph Egret (a fugitive from the Everglades Township Rest Home for the Elderly) enter the picture, The Man Who Invented Florida takes on an almost mythic quality. And when the outrageous pair decide to enlist songwriter Ervin T. Rouse (the real-life composer of the "Orange Blossom Special") in their campaign to foil the developers, there is a gentle sadness mixed with the hilarity.
The very likable Ford is caught between a genuine threat to the land he—and the author—loves, his attraction to the elusive Sally Carmel, and the need to do damage control on the shenanigans of Tucker and Joseph. With everything going on, Ford finds himself frequently in need of the breathing exercises recommended by his ex-hippie pal Tomlinson.
The book is a wild, wonderful, beautifully written romp, with a cast of enchantingly vivid characters and a serious social concern woven seamlessly into the proceedings.
RANDY WAYNE WHITE is a columnist for Outside Magazine, the host of "On the Water," a PBS television series, and a veteran Sanibel Island fishing guide. He lives with his family in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Praise for Randy Wayne White, "the rightful heir to John D. MacDonald"
"White captures Florida in images as sharp as an oyster shell.... He cares about people, their frailties and secret strengths. Not a character in The Heat Islands rings false.... His precise prose is as fresh and pungent as a salty breeze. Everything builds to a suspenseful, plausible, and satisfying conclusion." —Tampa Tribune Times
"A major new talent... hits the ground running... a virtually perfect piece of work. He's the best new writer we've encountered since Carl Hiaasen. White's stylish narrative never falters. This is a book that's got everything and then some." —Denver Post, on Sanibel Flats
"[The] first appearance of intelligent, likable Doc Ford will leave readers hoping to see him again." —Publishers Weekly
"Few writers have more skillfully mingled the familiar conventions of the mystery genre with the larger, more ambitious vision of serious literature than White." —Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
"Randy Wayne White is a fine storyteller whose taut episodes are illuminated by humor and a strong sense of place." —Peter Matthiessen
"Randy Wayne White is not simply a wonderful writer; he is a fishing guide of genius." —Paul Theroux
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