Wallace Stegner’s The Spectator Bird

“We write to make sense of it all.”    ―      Wallace Stegner

Wallace Stegner, was an American writer, 1909-1993.

I have just finished,

The Spectator Bird,

a beautiful novel,

about aging,

about the choices,

we make,

about the choices,

we don’t make,

deceptively simple,

full of truths,

I’m so glad I read it.

From the back blurb:

Joe Allston is a retired literary agent who is, in his own words, “just killing time until time gets around to killing me” His parents and his only son  are long dead, leaving him with neither ancestors nor descendants, tradition nor ties. … A postcard from a friend causes Allston to return to the journals of a trip he had taken years before, a journey to his mother’s birthplace, where he’d sought a link with his past.

Stegner is a master craftsman,

a plot that appears simple,

is in fact,

complex,

indeed intricate,

a lot like peoples lives.

Joe, who appears ordinary,

and somewhat passive,

a spectator bird,

is really a man of great feeling,

who has known,

love and heartbreak,

and has made a choice.

The characters are well drawn,

the settings are well drawn,

you feel the cold and damp,

of Copenhagen,

smell the mustiness of the castles,

feel the California wind,

roaring,

and the rain,

pounding down.

Both urbane and naturalistic.

When he wrote this novel,

Wallace Stegner was an old man,

it bears witness to years,

of living,

of craft,

the wisdom,

the truth,

the longing,

and the love.

A book I will not soon forget.

I want to read more of his work,

and after reading this,

I understand why,

Stegner is reffered to as,

The Dean Of Western Writers.

If you are looking for a dense,

yet,

remarkably short novel,

214 pages,

a satisfying, meaty read,

that will provide a perspective,

on,

aging and how we remember,

about raging, quietly,

against the dying of the light,

Stegner is your man.

Later girls,

BB

 

 

 

Published by

Bookish Butch

I am a bookish butch in my very early fifties. I live in Montréal and always have. I used to run a small used bookstore. Reading keeps me sane. My latest jiggie is photography, book project in the works, living the dream

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