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Trying to Float

Chronicles of a Girl in the Chelsea Hotel


‘Entertaining and refreshingly introspective’ Times Literary Supplement

 "They were like balloons that had escaped a child's grasp - pointlessly floating. "Focus!" I would plead with my mother. And my father was forever being diverted."

Allow us to introduce you to the Rips family: Michael, Sheila and daughter Nicolaia, the last denizens of New York's famous Chelsea Hotel. Better yet, allow Nicolaia to introduce them since it's her earnest, wry, occasionally wicked, but always affectionate observations that you'll find in her memoir, Trying to Float. Not only a coming-of-age story set in an enigmatic New York landmark, this is also the clever love story of a family, navigating the curiosities of their home. 


Ursula Bowling

Nicolaia Rips is a freshman at Brown University (class of 2020). She has lived at the Chelsea Hotel for her entire life. In her spare time, she studies vocal music, participates in team sports, reads avidly, and tolerates her parents. Trying to Float is her first book.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (July 14, 2016)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471156892

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‘Nicolaia Rips writes with wit, discipline and grace. Her voice is real’ 

– Ethan Hawke

Trying to Float is hysterically droll, touching, elegant, and wise ­– a coming-of-age story from someone who possibly came of age before her parents. Truly Nicolaia’s chronicle is sui generis’ 

– Patricia Marx, author of Let’s Be Less Stupid and Him Her Him Again The End of Him

‘These little tales about little rascals in New York City are charming, strange, and inspiring. What a very funny, improbably truthful book about childhood this is’ 

– Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland and The Dog

‘I love this book! Nicolaia Rips, while young, is the real thing, Wodehouse reborn in a young girl. He would have been charmed’ 

– Joel Gray, author of Master of Ceremonies