Synopses & Reviews
Surfing in Far Rockaway, romantic obsession, and Moby-Dick
converge in this winning and refreshing memoir.
Justin Hocking doesn't adapt easily to New York City. He has panic attacks on the subway under the East River, struggles as an assistant at a romance publisher, feels powerless as a long-distance relationship crumbles. He comes to see himself as a modern-day Ishmael, and he's looking for a way out. Far Rockaway is his escape. There he discovers surfing and a colorful circle of friends, both of which prove vital to his sanity, especially in the wake of a traumatic carjacking. But the tides of this memoir pull in more than surfboards. As he ventures further into the dark on his own “night sea journey,” Hocking details his obsessions, from Moby-Dick to Scientology's naval ties, from environmentalism to the Iraq War, and from twelve-step meetings to Basquiat. The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld is an affecting portrait of an unsung neighborhood and an original look at the swirling world of New York.
"As generous as it is smart, as intimate as it is grand, as illuminating as it is dark. With grace and guts, Justin Hocking dares to go where few men have gone before: not only out to sea, but also into the depths of the human heart." Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
"Melville-haunted, surfing-imbued, and wisdom-packed, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld is a lucid and moving memoir. Hocking's laid-back erudition and narrative generosity take us by the hand down a winding path at the end of which lies a new openness to the world's wonder." Antoine Wilson, author of Panorama City
About the Author
Justin Hocking is an avid surfer and skateboarder. He edited Life and Limb: Skateboarders Write from the Deep End, and his work has appeared in The Rumpus, Thrasher, and The Normal School. He is the executive director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center and lives in Portland, Oregon.