Hauntingly Moving and Compelling Read

The Bird Skinner - Alice Greenway

Cantankerous ornithologist Jim Kennoway whose leg was recently amputated retreats to an island off the coast of Maine and just wants to be left alone. Instinctively the reader knows there is much more to Jim’s orneriness than meets the eye as the elegiac language is often betrayed by restrained humanity. In this story, it is the arrival of Cadillac, the daughter of the Melanesian man who scouted with Jim during WWII, on her way to Yale to study medicine that allows the floodgates of Jim’s memories to encroach into ours.

The well-layered flashbacks provide the details, and the spellbinding poetic language provides the muted emotions, taut suspense, and pending release in a heartfelt manner. But the brilliance of this tale was the evocation of place and time whether is it was WWII ravaged Solomon Islands, sultry pristine Cumberland Island at the turning of the twentieth century, present day Fox Island off the Maine coast or the competitive academic world of Manhattan.

This hauntingly moving tale held my attention from the first page and dared me every time I thought to put it down before the final page. Needless to say I stayed up late into the night to finish. This was my first read by the author and look forward to reading more of her work. I recommend to readers who like stories regarding owning memories, life expectations, and acceptance.