Floating in Sausalito (2016)

John McMurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle, USA:

“Åberg is the author of a handsome and invaluable new large-format art book, ‘Floating in Sausalito’, released by German publisher Kerber Verlag. Full of vibrant photographs by fellow Swede Lars Strandberg, the book documents the one-of-a-kind community of more than 400 houseboats that dot Richardson Bay, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

This review also appeared in The Houston Chronicle.

Vicki Larson, Marin Independent Journal, USA:

“Swedish duo capture Sausalito’s gentrifying houseboat community. The result is a gorgeous coffee table book, that is rich in history, personal stories and vivid photographs… There has been so much written about the houseboat community over the years that one might question what more can be said, especially from people who live a continent away. But through their outsider eyes, they have been able to capture, with sensitivity and compassion, a community that’s slowly becoming gentrified.”

David Bolling, Valley of the Moon Magazine, USA:

”There’s no Sausalito houseboat book quite like the coffee-table tome, ‘Floating in Sausalito’, improbably but brilliantly written and photographed by two Swedes named Lars…

The two previously collaborated on an insightful, intimate and gorgeously illustrated, large-format book on America’s real and mythic west, called simply, ‘West’… With ‘Floating in Sausalito’, they have brought the same sensibilities and nuanced understanding to one of the most fascinating and flamboyant micro cultures in the country…

Aberg tries to capture it all in a series of essays and interviews, and he gets it remarkably right, especially for someone from so far outside Sausalito and Strandberg, again, captures the essence of place in time with a stunning collection of photos. A perfect holiday addition to any coffee (or bedside) table.”

Los Angeles Times Holiday Books Guide 2016, USA:

“Beautiful, strange and powerful photo books that just can’t stay closed.

In the 1950s, beatniks and hippies established a houseboat community near San Francisco; this photo book profiles its idiosyncratic residents.”

San Francisco Chronicle 2016 Holiday Books Guide 2016, USA:

“In this large-format coffee-table book – too fine to risk spilling coffee on – a Swedish author captures the enduring allure of the houseboat community just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Habitat Magazine, San Francisco, USA:

“What happens when two Swedes become obsessed with an eclectic houseboat community bobbing in a Northern hamlet of the San Francisco Bay?

‘Floating in Sausalito’ is a glorious oversized picture book that captures an ‘only in California’ cast of characters, from a salty pipe-puffing seaman to a pair of young bohemians to a blind cat named Monster. But the equally photogenic co-stars are the floating domiciles themselves: The Bateau de Rêve, the Crystal Palace, the Train Wreck (made from a century-old mahogany Pullman train car) and so many more. The foreign narrators share bits of California history in the whimsical and wide-eyed way only outsiders can, but mostly they let the residents speak for themselves. And they have an ocean’s worth of tales.”

Dana Joseph, Cowboys & Indians Magazine, USA:

“Enamored of the American West, two Swedes go floating in Sausalito. Lars Åberg and Lars Strandberg have produced an inviting look into the Bay Area counterculture houseboat community…

Is it possible that a Swedish American West-loving publishing duo can take the pulse of a compellingly Californian houseboat community outside of San Francisco and get the beat right? In its review of Lars Åberg’s and Lars Strandberg’s new book, the San Francisco Chronicle said absolutely. The Chron ought to know. Sausalito is in its backyard – right across the Golden Gate Bridge…

C & I talked with Åberg and Strandberg about their unique portrait of the colorful houseboat community, where 1960s hippie culture continues to thrive, even as it slowly gives way to a more affluent alternative lifestyle.”

The full interview is here

Cory Reynolds, Artbook.com, USA:

”’It was in the 1960s that they came here to live on a shoestring and to party on the outskirts of that no-good, mainstream, conformist, 9-to-5 society,’ Lars Åberg writes in the surprise staff favorite, ’Floating in Sausalito’. A book no one saw coming, this study of the historical (and now gentrifying) hippie houseboat community in Northern California pairs photographs of the idiosyncratic residents and their boats – and texts that really do convey the Bohemian funk of the place.”

Publishers Weekly, USA:

“This oversized photography book showcases the charming houseboat community in Sausalito, a small coastal town on the northern side of the Golden Gate Bridge in California. The community, one of the largest houseboat communities in the U.S., is a hippie’s dream…

Originally a destination for free spirits, the community of over 400 floating homes has more recently been sustained by the ample wealth in the Bay Area. In addition to photo tours inside some of the houses, the book provides a light history of the community, including the so-called “Houseboat Wars” that took place when local authorities hoping to develop the waterfront tried to relocate the residents. There are also interviews with key denizens, such as two nonagenarians who reside on a balloon barge that was once the home of Shel Silverstein.

The community is still a beautifully unconventional site, handsomely documented in the book, with houseboats such as the Unlimited Joy, Esperanza, and Chateau Bateau boasting more visual variety than the most bohemian of neighborhoods on that squarest of surfaces, dry land.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany:

“For everybody thinking about an escape, this book is the ultimate Christmas gift. The two Swedes Lars Åberg and Lars Strandberg show us that there is hope for a better world: thanks to Sausalito, where dreams of free love, tolerance and peacefulness are still alive. The story of the legendary communitiy of 7,000 once fulltime Libertins is at the same time the story of America’s largest houseboat colony.

Empathetic with subtle irony, but never uncritical, Åberg describes the lifestories of the people in paradise in Richardson Bay.”

Welt am Sonntag, Germany:

“They are swimming, these dreams, in the San Francisco Bay Area. What they all have in common is the hippie-style feeling of the residents. They make the largest houseboat community in the U.S.A. so special, portrayed by photographer Lars Strandberg and author Lars Åberg in ‘Floating in Sausalito’. A joy!”

Ingrid Norrman, Göteborgs-Posten, Sweden:

“I also want to live on a houseboat in Sausalito!…

This motley crew is presented in Lars Åberg’s and photographer Lars Strandberg’s beautiful coffee-table book ‘Floating in Sausalito’, its original published in English. ‘A handsome and invaluable art book’, The San Francisco Chronicle wrote in its review. I turn over the leaves and become overwhelmed with wanderlust. And if I travel to San Francisco, one thing is certain. No hotel room for me, I will rent myself a place on a houseboat in Sausalito.”

Michele Affronte, Sausalito resident:

“It is the most beautiful, fantastic book about our lifestyle!”

Alissandre Haas, Sausalito resident:

“It’s incredible, thank you for capturing my little floating world so beautifully.”

Jenny Stein – Floating Homes Association (Sausalito) blog:

“‘Floating in Sausalito’ documents a specific moment in our floating community – told from a personal perspective – while remaining anchored by the inclusion of our local and common history. This beautifully printed 240-page book is dense with observations, encounters and photos.”

Customer review, amazon.com:

“This is an unusual book. Behind the beautiful pictures of floating homes there is a story, the story of a big generation that dreamed of freedom and a different society. A generation that is disappearing, as the floating boats become reminders of the dream. I love this book.”