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An Off-Kilter Memoir
Floyd Skloot

Terrace Books

Finalist, Oregon Book Awards, Literary Arts
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Reviewers

A writer’s quest for balance in a spinning world

One March morning, writer Floyd Skloot was inexplicably struck by an attack of unrelenting vertigo that ended 138 days later as suddenly as it had begun. With body and world askew, everything familiar had transformed. Nothing was ever still. Revertigo is Skloot’s account of that unceasingly vertiginous period, told in an inspired and appropriately off-kilter form.

This intimate memoir—tenuous, shifting, sometimes humorous—demonstrates Skloot’s considerable literary skill honed as an award-winning essayist, memoirist, novelist, and poet. His recollections of a strange, spinning world prompt further musings on the forces of uncertainty, change, and displacement that have shaped him from childhood to late middle age, repeatedly knocking him awry, realigning his hopes and plans, even his perceptions. From the volatile forces of his mercurial, shape-shifting early years to his obsession with reading, acting, and writing, from the attack of vertigo to a trio of postvertigo (but nevertheless dizzying) journeys to Spain and England, and even to a place known only in his mother’s unhinged fantasies, Skloot makes sense of a life’s phantasmagoric unpredictability.


Floyd Skloot. Photo credit: Beverly Hallberg.Floyd Skloot is a creative nonfiction writer, essayist, poet, and novelist who lives in Portland, Oregon, and Chicago, Illinois. He is the recipient of many awards, including three Pushcart Prizes and the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction. His writing has appeared in such distinguished magazines as the New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Poetry, and American Scholar, and his eighteen books include The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer’s Life. In 2010, Poets & Writers named him among “50 of the Most Inspiring Authors in the World.”






“Skloot’s memoir resembles Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, with his revisiting past experiences to make sense of those things that make no sense. . . . A lovely read, Revertigo’s story of acceptance creates a memoir to embrace.”
North American Review

“Skloot's writing here is immediate, simple, and vulnerable.”
New York Times

“With wide-ranging topics such as theater, medicine, travel, and cooking, Skloot's prose jumps from the page whether he is describing nature or a dream about Nabokov dancing.”
Publishers Weekly

“Skloot's warmth makes us reluctant to part company with him. He's wise and humane — and funny, too.”
—Ron Slate, author of Incentive of the Maggot, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry

“Skloot's refreshingly honest look at his illness ends on a hopeful note: he can now look back on those seemingly endless days of vertigo as . . . an experience about which he had to write.”

“With the inquisitive approach of a scientist, the sensibility of a poet, and the humor of the resigned, Skloot presents vertigo as a metaphorical condition of humanity.”
—Geoff Kronik, Colorado Review

“As either essayist or memoirist—or as both at the same time—Floyd Skloot is engaging, open, and insightful, and Revertigo will reverberate in the reader long after the reading.”
River Teeth Journal

“Skloot's honest and direct relaying of events and their aftermath highlight some universal themes such as hope and perseverance that show no matter how off-kilter life gets, forward momentum somehow steadies its way through.”

“A sophisticated yet highly entertaining example of how memoir should serve us.”
—Ron Slate, author of Incentive of the Maggot, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry

“A beautifully written, moving account. Who would have imagined that a memoir exploring months of extreme vertigo and decades of neurological turbulence would be filled with so much joy and optimism? This gentle, wise, and perceptive memoir never fails to surprise.”
—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire

The New York Times Review “As the World Turns” by Claire Dederer


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An Off-Kilter Memoir

March 2014
LC: 2013028359 PS
224 pp.   5 1/2 x 8 1/4

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Cloth $26.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-29950-7
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