Surrounded on Three Sides

John Keasler

Foreword by Les Standiford and Diane L. Stevenson

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"A jaunty, outstandingly human, and highly successful satire on the habits and ways of professional promoters, on ‘progress’ in Florida. . . and a lot of other things."--Chicago Tribune

"A delightful discovery for the general reader of Florida fiction."--Les Standiford

--from the book

"That crazy bastard is famous! If he moves here--wherever he moves--it will be news. It will be on every wire service. It will be in every column. And just what will be the first public reaction?" . . .
"My god," Paul said, "You’re right."
"Paul, do you know how a resort area starts?"
A stricken Paul Higgins sat up and stared, hearing the shiny bulldozer.

Escaping the cold, frantic world of New York public relations, Paul Higgins moves his family to rustic, undeveloped southwest Florida, where peace and quiet are assured. That is, until a celebrated author moves into the neighborhood and Higgins devises "the hard unsell," a series of ingenious and hilarious public relations efforts to discourage people from moving to Flat City and to scare off tourists, investors, and developers in the process.
Keasler’s 1958 novel is remarkable both for its humor and for its early portrayal of the dilemma of Florida growth, a theme later explored in depth by John D. MacDonald and elevated to satirical heights in Carl Hiaasen’s Tourist Season. Between the land boom and the explosive growth beginning in the sixties, Keasler captured in the figure of Paul Higgins the aspirations of millions who seek Florida as an escape and the fanatical opposition to development of those other millions who have already arrived and desperately want to close the door behind them.
Novelist and journalist John Keasler wrote nearly 7,000 humor columns during his 30-year career at the old Miami News, and he also covered the major historical events of the time, including Kennedy's assassination and Neil Armstrong's trip to the moon. Keasler died in Plant City in 1996, and was remembered by the Miami Herald as having left "a legacy of love for his home state."

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Keasler's novel Surrounded on Three Sides, first published in 1958 and now reissued, laid the foundation for what was to come in Florida fiction: amusing, deadpan attacks on development run amok. Wise and relevant, a real estate agent's worst nightmare, Surrounded warned of the disastrous growth looming for us, pointedly slamming our destiny as a tourist trap hell. . . . The worst thing about Surrounded is that Keasler warned us a long time ago what was going to happen here. Too bad nobody listened." -- Miami Herald Miami Herald

"This funny novel. . . , like the works of John D. McDonald, Hiassen and Randy Wayne White, powerfully captures the tragedy of a state always on the make. -- Tampa Tribune Tampa Tribune

"Still hilarious after all these years. . . . Read this gem of a story. Keasler creates hilarious situations involving some wonderful characters who--if you are a longtime Floridian--may remind you of your neighbors in the good old days."--Stuart News Stuart News

, first published in 1958 and now reissued, laid the foundation for what was to come in Florida fiction: amusing, deadpan attacks on development run amok. Wise and relevant, a real estate agent's worst nightmare, warned of the disastrous growth looming for Florida, pointedly slamming our destiny as a tourist-trap hell. . . . The book would be downright depressing if it weren't so funny."-- Birmingham News Birmingham News

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