Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Bird Skinner - Alice Greenway

It is 1973. Jim Kennoway, a distinguished ornithologist and Second World War veteran, has just left his work at the Natural History Museum in New York, turned his back on his family and retreated to an island boathouse off the coast of Maine. His desires are simple: to be left alone with his cigarettes, gin and battered copy of Treasure Island, and to forget.

Jim's solitude is shattered when Cadillac Baketi, a tall, ebullient and dazzlingly bright young woman from the Solomon Islands arrives on her way to study medicine at Yale University. Cadillac is the daughter of Tosca, an island scout Jim befriended during the war when they collected and skinned birds while spying on the Japanese. Jim curses the intrusion as he finds his thoughts catapulting back to his youth and a dark truth about his time in the Solomons. Yet it may be that Cadillac, from the Pacific islands Jim thought he'd left behind, can teach him to be human again.

My thoughts:
On a bleak cold island Jim is sitting trying to forget how he used to live. When he had two legs, when he did something. Now he is hiding. His son does get him to write an article about Treasure Island so he does something at least instead of drinking gin all day. And I do get it, he loved his work, his birds and now he can't get around like he used to.

In comes Cadillac, the daughter of the scout who guided him through jungles during the war. Here we get flashbacks about his time in the Solomons, watching birds, hiding from the Japanese. Cadillac does not do a lot in a way, she misses the warm water and her home. But she is more the catalyst of him remembering more and more.

I also learned something about the Pacific war, and it was horrific.

It's a melancholic book, some move on, some do not.

Conclusion:
An enjoyable book I spent an afternoon reading.

Cover
Good

Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2014 by Atlantic Books (first published August 13th 2013)
Fiction
For review


48 comments:

  1. Not for me but I do like the name, Cadillac. Very creative and unique

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    Replies
    1. That it is, but I would not want to be named that ;)

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  2. I must agree with Braine, I've never heard of the name Cadillac. I have known a Mercedes and heard of Ferrari being used haha, too funny.

    Anywho, this sounds like a good read - full of emotion and some history =)

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    1. A Ferrari? Lol, then I do like Cadillac better

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  3. Melancholic is probably not the best kind of read for me at the moment! But it does sound good.

    ~Mogsy

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    1. Sometimes they can be a bit too heavy

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  4. Huh. Sounds good, but the title is giving me visuals I do not like. bahaha

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    Replies
    1. He liked to skin birds ;) So not something I want to think about

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  5. Not for me either, but glad you enjoyed! :)

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  6. This sounds like a really emotional read and a good one.

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  7. This sounds very emotional and sad but very good. And Cadillac is a cool name!

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  8. Yes, the Pacific War was truly terrible. Sounds like an informative and emotional read.

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    1. I never knew it, I should have watched that tv-series if they showed what it really was like..keeping skulls and wtf

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  9. Not sure this is the book for me, I like my stories to to be a bit happier overall without quite so much melancholy, but I do love a book that teaches me something:)

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    1. Sometimes happy is hard, he had lived his life

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  10. "Some move on, some don't". :(

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  11. I don't think I've ever read a book like that but I think it would make me sad...

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    1. It did not really make me sad though

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  12. I don't think this one's for me, but I'm glad you liked it ;)

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  13. This book sounds kinda depressing, and I don't do depressing.

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    Replies
    1. It was never depressing or really sad, it just was

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  14. Sounds like an atmospheric book, glad you liked it!

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  15. Not something I would have read before, but it sounds like a really great book.

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    Replies
    1. I need a bit of fiction now and then

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  16. This probably isn't something I would have picked up on my own, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. If I was in the right mood I might try it. Nice review! :-)

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    1. I do think the mood needs to be right :)

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  17. Ooo this sounds like a tough one.

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    1. It might sound like that, but no, not tough

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  18. Awesome review! I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this one sure is going to captivate me. First time hearing about it. xD Thanks and happy reading! I'll be back!

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  19. This sounds sad, and I know nothing of the Pacific war. I think I'd enjoy this one.

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    1. It was horrible, but then people are cruel

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  20. Wow, you read the entire book in an afternoon?

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    1. I might have started it the night before, but yes 90% in the afternoon. I was outside for hours

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  21. Glad to see you liked it! It's been sitting on my shelf, not sure why I haven't felt inclined to read it.

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    1. I hope you read it one day then :)

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  22. New to me but I like the sound of it and the cover appeals :)

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  23. I haven't heard of this author before, but this book sounds interesting, and I'd love to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.

    ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

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