Friday, September 14, 2007

Reviewing BIRDS IN FALL by Brad Kessler

Birds in Fall is a mesmerizing, haunting novel. The book opens with a plane crash, and then quickly moves into the aftermath of that crash by following the lives of the victims families as they cope with the losses of their loved ones while staying at an inn on an outer island of Nova Scotia. What Kessler does so beautifully here, for most of the novel, is to skirt sentimentality and nostalgia by offering descriptinve echoes of bird facts through the text, along with other descriptive echoes, such as a particularly lovely and meaningful opening-closing echo of Kingfishers diving/the plane diving. Tropes include lovemaking, water, bones, and memory.

The innkeeper and the wife of an ornithologist pace the text as Kessler works from close 3rd person POV as readers follow these two characters coping with differing levels of "loss." Kessler earns the sentimental, happy ending of his novel by allowing his characters to be fully present in their moments of grief and despair; the facts about birds hover over the action of the text, serving as footholds along the way, helping readers to connect with the 9-11 echo of insurmountable loss. It's a beautiful book, especially for those who have experienced loss--because the book offers not just the hope of getting on with your life, but the hope of carrying your grief close to the breast--the heart--while braving the storms that come our way.


Temporary Home

This blogsite is our temporary home while our website undergoes an extreme makeover of epic proportions (shifted septums, pacemakers, calf implants, dialysis, a fancy wig, contacts -- the works).

This was our old home, and while it is a bit dated, it's a good source of info regarding recent issues and the history of Prism Review.

Updates will follow regarding our new home. ETA summer 2009.