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 Caribou
lend 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.
"A classic story . . . All that is splendid and spectacular in the book is simply light, magically employed to seek out what is real." --Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Bewitching . . . glows like a night light in the reader's mind." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Completely original and compelling . . . written with great intelligence, wit and clarity." --Anne Whitehouse, The Boston Sunday Globe
"[The Bird Artist] combines colorful backwoods eccentrics and gothic melodrama that strongly resembles the work of film director David Lynch." --Edward B. St. John, Library Journal
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 a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His 1987 novel, The Northern Lights, was nominated for a National Book Award, as was his 1994 novel The Bird Artist. He is also author of the novels The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, and Devotion. His books have been translated into twelve languages. Norman teaches in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He lives in Washington, D.C., and Vermont with his wife and daughter.