[Epub] ↠ The Bird Artist Author Howard Norman – Bassgrotto.co.uk



10 thoughts on “The Bird Artist

  1. says:

    Howard Norman image from the NY Times photo by Emma Norman Storytelling lives here Set in Newfoundland, the tale centers on Fabian Vas, who, it is clear from a very early age, is a gifted artist with a penchant for drawing birds In the first paragraph we learn that he murdered a lighthouse keeper The rest is about getting to that This is a very engaging read, with interesting, quirky characters in an unusual place, that seems somehow quite familiar, any American small town uprooted and dropped on a rocky northern Canadian Atlantic coast and left to simmer for a few generations His girlfriend, Margaret Handle, might be considered sluttish, and is by some of the characters Her father is a crusty fellow who delivers mail by boat on rounds that are measured in days not hours Fabian s mother carries on an affair while his father is out of town on business A prudish reverend, an unforgiving long distance art te...


  2. says:

    The Bird Artist is a mystery, but an unusual one In most mysteries a crime is committed early in the story or maybe even before the story begins and the reader knows that eventually there will be a solution and perhaps even a confession But this isn t what happens in The Bird Artist In fact, the novel employs a plot device popularized by a TV series Remember Columbo, which starred the late Peter Falk Remember how the series utilized what came to be labeled the inverted detective story format There was never any surprise about what crime was committed or who committed it, because that was revealed at the beginning of the episode The plot primarily revolved around how Columbo unraveled the mystery and trapped the perpetrator.Here is the opening paragraph of The Bird Artist There is no need for a spoiler alert because if you read the book this is the first thing you will read My name is Fabian Vas I live in Witless Bay, Newfoundland You would not have heard of me Obscurity is not necessarily failure, though I am a bird artist, and have or less made a living at it Yet I mu...


  3. says:

    It seems odd to describe a book about a murderer as lovely, but this novel was a lovely read I first heard of The Bird Artist thanks to Calvin Trillin, who mentioned it as one of his favorite novels The story is set in Newfoundland in 1911, and this is how the book opens My name is Fabian Vas I live in Witless Bay, Newfoundland You would not have heard of me Obscurity is not necessarily failure, though I am a bird artist, and have or less made a living at it Yet I murdered the lighthouse keeper, Botho August, and that is an equal part of how I think of myself.This is the k...


  4. says:

    I really do struggle to articulate what I found so compelling about this book The prose is spare, the characters are like trying to touch someone through a fog, the storytelling is strangely matter of fact And somehow this added up to a book where the pages turned on its own some individually lovely sentences and Margaret only partially explain it...


  5. says:

    There is a latent creepiness about the northeast section of North America Canada and the U.S that seems to bring out the Melvilles and Lovecrafts of the world Weird So I place this book within the gothic chapter of the Atlantic, where fog covers treacherous shoals and madness breeds within shuttered homes There s a reason the sun decides to set in the West, folks Circa 1910 1911, the protagonist of this story makes a living by selling his own bird illustrations while living in a remote village of the Newfoundland territory still governed by Britain He lives with his parents, who don t really seem to be one , and he sleeps with the local slag He introduces us to the Witless Bay villagers, who meet the hardness of isolated life with their own peculiarities Within the first paragraph of the story, we know the main character has killed someone, so the rest of the book is there to explain the why.The writing was enjoyable and it was interesting to read about the nutbuckets on that side of the world My issue is that I simply...


  6. says:

    The Bird Artist Such a different, yet compelling story, set before World War I in an isolated part of Canada, Witless Bay, Newfoundland Fabian, grows up here, a place where everyone knows everyone else, where gossip is spread almost instantaneously, where it takes over a month a get a reply to a letter The novel starts with Fabian admitting to having killed someone, but this is so much than a murder mystery It is also a coming of age story, a story where the setting and Fabian s love for birds and the drawing of them, is a huge part of Fabian s life I loved the clean and clear prose, the characters names are so quirky, the story drew me in, quietly and slowly I became immersed in this island and the lives of it s inhabitants I absolutely adored the character of Margaret, she does and sees things in her own way which is hard to do on a small island Also loved all the descriptions of the birds and I did look up several of these birds to see what they looked like It was just an adde...


  7. says:

    It s surely one of the greatest opening paragraphs ever My name is Fabian Vas I live in Witless Bay, Newfoundland You would not have heard of me Obscurity is not necessarily failure, though I am a bird artist, and have or less made a living at it Yet I murdered the lighthouse keeper, Botho August, and that is an equal part of how I think of myself I so admire books that give up their secrets at the very start yet hook you in and keep you reading with interest all the way through Set largely between 1911 and 1913, this is the story of coffee addicted Fabian and his development as an artist under the long distance epistolary tutelage of Isaac Sprague his arranged marriage versus his love for unconventional Margaret Handle his divided loyalties to his father Orkney and his mother Alaric, who had an affair with Botho Augu...


  8. says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, from start to finish, so much so that I must soon read The Museum Guard by the same author It s the dialogue that grabs you The banter I wish I could come with such replies when talking light and piercing at the same time I enjoyed reading about Newfoundland Get out your at...


  9. says:

    Fabian Vas, the narrator, introduces himself in the beginning of the book I am a bird artist, and have or less made a living at it Yet I murdered the lighthouse keeper, Botho August, and that is an equal part of how I think of myself In the story that follows, Fabian reflects back on the events that led up to the murder.Fabian lives in the isolated village of Witless Bay on the eastern coast of Newfoundland in the early 20th Century It is so remote that it takes a month for a letter to be delivered by mail boat There are frequent mentions of waiting for letters, especially from his correspondance art teacher, that increase the sense of isolation Everybody seems to know everyone else s business in Witless Bay There is a sense of comfort in the known for some of the characters, but a desire for the thrill of the unkn...


  10. says:

    Birds and the making of a bird on the page is the logic of my heart And yours So Isaac Sprague, bird artist, writes to his student, Fabian Vas, the narrator of Howard Norman s acclaimed novel.Life in The Bird Artist follows its own logic, and this constitutes one of the chief delights of the novel Early in the narrative, Fabian tells of a time when his childhood friend, Margaret Handle, crashes her bike into an old man, sending him over a cliff It seems clear that the crash was an accident, and yet nobody in the room asks the logical question that would settle the matter how did it happen Instead, the narrative offers unsettling nudges It s hardly a blind corner, the constable notes Margaret has an untoward mind, Fabian s mother says Years later, Margaret says that she and the victim collided The major events in Witless Bay tend to be collisions of one sort or another, involving people who rarely offer satisfactory explanations for their actions Instead, we get testimony testimony in a trial, tes...


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The Bird Artist Though Judging A Book By Its Cover Is Ill Advised, Assessing The Bird Artist By Its First Paragraph Is A Safe Bet Howard Norman S Second Novel Lives Up To All Expectations Promised By The Kind Of Beginning That Makes A Reader Beg For And Then Panic That The Rest Will Not Be As Good My Name Is Fabian Vas I Live In Witless Bay, Newfoundland You Would Not Have Heard Of Me Obscurity Is Not Necessarily Failure, Though I Am A Bird Artist, And Have Or Less Made A Living At It Yet I Murdered The Lighthouse Keeper, Botho August, And That Is An Equal Part Of How I Think Of Myself There Are Echoes Of Vladimir Nabokov S Infamous Narrator, Humbert Humbert, In Fabian S Confessional Tone, Witty Humor, And Emotional Detachment From The Series Of Bizarre Events He Describes Set At The Turn Of The Century In A Remote Cod Fishing Community, The Bird Artist Is A Love Story Of Sorts, Filled With Curious Characters And A Chowder Restaurant The Men Wear Knitted Underwear All Year Round Lined With Fleece Calico And Periodically Escape The Island To Pursue Their Livelihoods On The Sea But The Women Are Land Bound Helen Twombly Suspects Fellow Villagers Of Stealing Her Milk Bottles Alaric Vas Suffers From Arthritis That No Liniment Relieves And Plots Her Son S Arranged Marriage With A Fourth Cousin In Richibucto, New Brunswick Meanwhile, Fabian S Childhood Love, Margaret Handle, Propels Herself And The Plot Forward With Unwieldy Energy How Did Things For A Mild Mannered Man Who Just Likes To Wake Up Early, Wash My Face, And Get Out And Draw Birds Go So Wrong Norman, A Folklorist And Naturalist, Presents Us With The Possible Explanations In The Form Of Fine Details From An Island Life He Researched While Living In A Remote Inuit Whale Hunting Community He Carefully Examines The Inner Isolation Of His Characters The Severe Landscape And The Weather Serve As The Perfect Metaphor If You Re Looking For Linguistic Pyrotechnics, Norman S Economy Won T Suit You In The Bird Artist A Finalist For The 1994 National Book Award There Is As Much To Admire On The Page As What S NotCristina Del Sesto