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The Bird Artistby Howard Norman
Synopses & Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Hillyer is suddenly orphaned when his parents, within hours of each other, jump off two different bridgesthe result of their separate involvements with the same compelling neighbor, a Halifax switchboard operator and aspiring actress. The suicides cause Wyatt to move to small-town Middle Economy to live with his uncle, aunt, and ravishing cousin Tilda. Setting in motion the novels chain of life-altering passions and the wartime perfidy at its core is the arrival of the German student Hans Mohring, carrying only a satchel. Actual historical incidentsincluding a German U-boats sinking of the Nova Scotia–Newfoundland ferry Cariboulend intense narrative power to Normans uncannily layered story.
Wyatts account of the astonishing events leading up to his fathering of a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. What Is Left the Daughter is Howard Norman at his celebrated best.
Howard Norman's The Bird Artist, the first book of his Canadian trilogy, begins in 1911. Its narrator, Fabian Vas is a bird artist: He draws and paints the birds of Witless Bay, his remote Newfoundland coastal village home. In the first paragraph of his tale Fabian reveals that he has murdered the village lighthouse keeper, Botho August. Later, he confesses who and what drove him to his crime--a measured, profoundly engrossing story of passion, betrayal, guilt, and redemption between men and women.
The Bird Artist is a 1994 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.
About the Author
Howard Norman is also a National Book Award finalist for The Northern Lights. His other works include The Museum Guard, The Chauffeur, a collection of stories, and The Haunting of L., his most recent novel. He received a Lannan Award in fiction. He resides in Vermont and Washington D.C.
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