Touch and Go

Touch and go book cover

Touch and Go

Thad Nodine


To escape an addiction, a young blind man steps into a station wagon with his friends and their foster kids to deliver a handmade casket to a dying grandfather. As they battle their way across the southern half of the nation, this rag-tag American family falls prey to love and lies, greed and violence, crime and Katrina.


With a voice reminiscent of John Irving, Nodine produces a classic “road-picture” novel that is part Travels with Charley, part As I Lay Dying, and part On The Road.


Touch and Go is a rich and rangy story about the careful and careless ways we treat each other—and ourselves—in a fast-paced, changing world. Kevin, the novel’s blind narrator, is one of the most perceptive figures in recent fiction. And his desire to do no harm is contagious. Through Kevin’s rich senses and boundless compassion, Nodine gives us a multicultural portrait of a true America. And he does so with deep affection for everyone along the way.


Touch and Go Reading Guide (PDF)


Recent words about Touch and Go…


“I gulped your book down in big bites. Hard to stop reading. You created indelible characters, solved the near-impossible obstacle of a blind protagonist. I’m in awe.”

Peter Coyote, actor, author, activist


“This is that book that has you shaking your head in exasperation, laughing, and tearing up all at the same time. What a read!”

— BookShop Santa Cruz



What reviewers are saying…


“Nodine’s cinematic novel deserves to be hailed as one of the year’s finest fiction debuts. In addition to creating a memorable cast [of] characters — including Kevin, the blind unemployed journalist and recovering addict who narrates this contemporary road story — Nodine treats readers to a realistic portrayal of multicultural America.”

Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)


“A winning debut, a stunning vision of the fractured modern American family seen through the heightened observations of a man who has embraced his disability.”



“What a rare experience is this beautifully written first novel by Santa Cruz author Thad Nodine. A road trip about a blind protagonist and his ramshackle journey through the deep South, Touch and Go bristles with ingenuity and style. Jack Kerouac meets Huck Finn, with a dash of 21st century Tennessee Williams… Fast and frankly unforgettable, Touch and Go insists upon the urgency of human connection, the sense that we too are among these unlikely comrades, traveling toward one thing and invariably arriving at something completely different.”

Christina Waters, Santa Cruz Weekly



Touch and Go, by debut novelist Thad Nodine, is a multi-cultural, non-traditional masterpiece that will worm its way into every reader’s heart.”

— The Next Best Book Club


Touch and Go marks the arrival of an astounding new voice in fiction and is destined for this year’s ‘Best Of’ lists.”

Book Lady’s Blog


“At times hilariously funny and at others terribly sad, the author has given us a cast of memorable characters and taken us on an epic road trip. This novel … deserves to be strongly promoted and widely read.”



“I’m smitten with this quirky family, road trip book. I love hearing Kevin [the narrator] work his way through his life… Nodine writes about families as I think they are – full of ambivalence.”

Murphy Reads


What authors are saying…


Touch and Go is a strong debut — a high-velocity vision quest that keeps surprising and surprising.”

 Jonathan FranzenFreedom



Touch and Go is a novel of imagination and compassion, in which a blind man tries to escape the dislocating wounds of his past on a cross country trip into the eye of a hurricane. Nodine’s prose is clear and nuanced, and his band of quixotic characters are handled with intelligence. There is danger and joy in this book, and it sticks in the mind like a lyrical puzzle.”

Elizabeth McKenzieStop that Girl


“The tension builds between these unforgettable characters until the explosive, heart-wrenching finish. Touch and Go manages to be both brutal and sweet at the same time.”

Micah PerksPagan Time


Touch and Go is a fascinating story that delivers a portrait of the resilience embedded in disability cultures. In the novel’s family of characters, brokenness creates a community of need that offers each individual a chance to strip away co-dependence for interdependence. It’s elegant that it is the privilege of narration, rather than some ideological sidebar, that brings all that home.”

Scott Rains, author of Rolling Rains Report and national expert
on travel, disability, and universal design



Read an excerpt from Touch and Go 


 Meeting Isa:

I first heard the lilt of Isa’s voice in group counseling, but I spoke with her first in a hallway, where she stopped me with a soft hand on my arm. I knew who it was before she spoke; back then she wore a cheap fragrance… more



Sometimes I hear people’s steps, sometimes not, depending on the room, the footwear, and my focus. Ray was easy to decipher, with his quick, fidgeting steps. Devon usually dragged his feet, shuffling in long strides, as if the bother… more


 An officer of the law:

“We’re from Burbank, California,” Isa began, “and we’re off to visit Daddy in Florida, who’s about to die any day, sir. Any day. But we’re praying to the good Lord, sir, that we’ll see him before he dies. It’s been a long trip and… more


Touch and Go is available from your local bookstore, or by clicking one of the links at the bottom right of this page.


$16.95 ($17.95 Canada) / Unbridled Books / Paperback with flaps / 6” x 9” / 352 pages

ISBN: 978-1-60953-061-7