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Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birdsby Chris Chester
Synopses & Reviews
"There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow." — William Shakespeare, Hamlet
B fell twenty-five feet from his nest into the life of Chris Chester. The encounter was providential for both of them.
B and Chester spent hours together playing games like bottle-cap fetch or hide-and-seek. They learned "words" in each other's vocabularies. B developed a fetish for nostrils and a dislike of the color yellow. He grew anxious if Chester came home late from work. At bedtime he would rub his sleepy eyes on Chester's thumb and settle to sleep in his palm. Chester ended up turning part of his house into an aviary and adjusting his social life to meet B's demands. This was a small price to pay, though, for the trust and comfort of a twenty-five-gram friend who brought joy and wonder back into his life.
"A wonderfully literate, oddball meditation on life and the power of rich friendships with small birds." Los Angeles Times
"A story charmingly told, sprinkled with scientific information on birds, philosophical meanderings, the friendship that forms between human and avian...as mesmerizing as a bunch of feathers and dark eyes alighting in your hand." The Sunday Oregonian
"Highly astute and humorous....Filled with literary, historical, and scientific allusions, each so well-placed and -timed that one wonders at the author's encyclopedic mind." Missoula Independent
"Heartfelt, warm, and entertaining....Highly literate and filled with personal ruminations, avian research, and literary allusions, Chester's writing style sets this book apart from other animal memoirs." Library Journal
In the years since Chris Chester and his wife Rebecca rescued "B," a featherless baby bird — a creature with all the initial appeal of "a testicle with a beak" — they've had plenty of time to consider and reconsider their eccentric lifestyle. The upstairs floor of their home in Portland has become an indoor aviary. There is B's room, which he shares with a varying number of finches; the canary room; and the room housing the three subsequent foundling sparrows they've adopted: Baby, Pee Wee, and Seven. There are screen doors mounted in the doorways, congruent with "the Appalachian-themed decor." They've learned sparrow games like "War Bird," "Love Bird," and "Hit the Cap." The birds' bedtime rituals alone take an hour or more each night and cleaning the house for company means, essentially, cleaning room-sized cages. Not surprisingly the couple's social life has suffered a decline.
About the Author
Chris Chester lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, cats and birds. Providence of a Sparrow is his first book.
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